Thousands of Chemically Etched Miniature Figures
People I Saw But Never Met at Shoshana Wayne Gallery features Zadok Ben-David’s latest ongoing body of work, which, to date, includes over 3,000 chemically etched miniature figures and 45 larger hand-cut figures made from aluminum. Culled from photographs the artist took of people he encountered from a distance as a result of his travels to Europe, The United States, Central Asia, Far East Australia, and Antarctica, the installation brings together an unlikely assemblage of global citizens. Ben-David’s sculptural milieu comes at a critical point in our current socio-political climate where heated debates about exclusion and borders versus inclusivity and multiplicity are part of our daily experience.
Multiplicity as an organizing principle has played a significant role in Ben-David’s work starting with Evolution and Theory (1995) to his two previous exhibitions at the gallery Blackfield (2009) and The Otherside of Midnight (2013). Known for creating multiple versions of a singular natural form such as flowers or butterflies, each variation bearing a unique gesture by the artist, Ben-David’s installations create an alternate amplified viewing space where the relationship between viewer (human) and artwork (nature) is both sacred and destabilizing. Where multiplicity differs in People I Saw But Never Met is in the artist’s approach toward an ethos of pluralization. Ben-David’s accumulation of real-life global people suggests the ways in which we are both isolated yet always in relation to one another. The sand which anchors the figures acts also as a collective ground on which we stand or as the substance from which we all spring and despite variations in scale, there is no hierarchy, each figure no matter his or her origin is treated with dignity and respect.