Black Field, 2007, painted steel, size variable
Exhibition dates: 1st June – 7th July 2007
Hales Gallery is pleased to present Israeli sculptor Zadok Ben David’s first solo show at the gallery.
Ben David is best known for his work using slights of hand and eye, emerging from his obsession with magic tricks. In 1988 he represented Israel at the Venice Biennale, which was the culmination of this early period of single works.
Since this time, Ben David has enjoyed considerable success with his large scale installations; his major work, Evolution and Theory, 1998, has been exhibited at the Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen, in the Netherlands and the San Francisco Art Institute. This work initiated Ben David’s exploration into the paradoxical position of western scientific discovery which has continued to form a central theme within his practice.
This new work Black Field continues to investigate Ben David’s interest in visual trickery and illusion in relation to a fascination with science as a vehicle for progress. A major installation, it completely permeates the left hand side of the gallery allowing the spectator only one vantage point from which to view this spectacular work. Both witty and playful, the piece seduces its audience by creating a deception, easy to unravel but magnificent in its simplicity.
The installation consists of over 3000 acid etched stainless steel miniatures, cut to resemble illustrations from 18th and 19th century herbal and botanical manuals which Ben David has collected and chosen specifically for this project. Each flowering plant has been given a unified size, painted black and placed upright. Viewed individually, the pieces appear to be both a shadow, and a shadow of a shadow, superimposed against an immaculate white ground. Yet, seen as a whole, as the title indicates, the installation emerges as a ghostly horizon, metaphorically suggesting a burial field, ravaged by plague, pestilence or war.
Zadok Ben David moved to Britain in the 1970s and studied sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art under the tutorage of Anthony Caro, William Tucker and Phillip King. His work first came to prominence as part of the New British Sculpture movement in the early 1980s which reacted against much of the minimal and conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s.
Most recently, Ben David has produced a solo survey show at Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, China and has completed a series of major outdoor sculptural works including those at the Yad Vashem, Israel and Goodwood Sculpture Park.