The sculptures of Ofer Rubin – an Israeli multidisciplinary artist and entrepreneur – seem to emerge out of thin air. Each is a unique human body that has been shaped from a single piece of metal mesh. The forms are incomplete, as if suspended between two stages of evolution. Expanding, reaching out, hoping for growth and enhancement. They may look a little vulnerable but their muscles, tissues and bones are made of rough, coarse, unforgiving materials.
Looking at these bodies, one can easily guess that they’ve been influenced by computer-generated imagery. Ofer, who has created 3-D characters for computer games, TV and music videos in the past, says that the process is indeed similar: “I used 3-D software with virtual tools to bend and shape the bodies, which are made of small squares and triangles that are called polygons. That’s how the computer understands the formation of a body. I find it very interesting that the metal mesh I use today looks very much like the polygons.”
The physical stretching and straining calls to mind the splendour of classical Greek sculpture, also contemporary poetics of fitness and well-being. “I have been into sports all my life,” the artist explains. “Growing up as an asthmatic child, I started swimming. After a few years, the asthma passed, so I guess swimming saved me. I keep swimming, and doing sports as much as I can because I feel it’s a sort of meditation. It helps me get connected with myself and also appreciate and take care of my body. Health and wellness have become very important to more and more people recently. People are running marathons, doing triathlons, so I try to have all my sculptures very strong and fit. Even the woman torsos are a bit muscular.”
From the realm of painting, the Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890– 1918) remains a significant source of inspiration. Ofer says: “I’ve known Egon’s paintings and drawings since I was a young boy. I always loved the way he used the outline and exaggerated it to form the figures in his drawings. I liked the way he captured the tension in the body, depicted everything that it was made up of. He sometimes left out the arms, as they didn’t matter. The torsos were the most expressive elements.”
Interestingly, religion and politics play a major role as well. Ofer continues: “Throughout history, the Jewish people needed to fight and survive and finally got to the land of Israel. In the Holocaust, the Jews were weak and afraid, and were led to slaughter. With the formation of the State of Israel, we decided that we were not going to let it happen again. For this, we have built a strong army, fought and won many wars. The Jews are no longer afraid or weak. I try to convey this in my sculptures – strong men and women – show them as monuments, reminding others that although we are a small state, we are strong and independent.”
Ofer Rubin obtained a BA in Design from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. He is the founder of a computer graphics animation company. Based in Tel Aviv, he serves as creative director and advisor for technology startups. He has focused on the intersection between art and technology throughout his career.
Links: Website (www.rubin-design.com) | Facebook (www.facebook.com/rubindesign) | LinkedIn (il.linkedin.com/in/oferrubin) | Saatchi Art (www.saatchiart.com/rubin-design) | Instagram (www.instagram.com/rubin.design)
Images used with permission.