7 metres height: Floating Arabic Dhow Sculpture
Le Royal Meridien, Dubai, Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai, UAE
Abstract interpretation of an Arabic Dhow - floating (suspended) white-painted stainless steel-mesh composition.
White finished stainless steel-mesh, 600 x 375 x 110 cm.
Installation February 2017 at Le Royal Meridien, Dubai, Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai, UAE (Reception Area)
Commission by Interior design company LW for Hotel Interior Le Royal Meridien
Award Winner 2017/2018 in World's Best Africa & Arabia 2017-18
"Derived from Arabic dhow designs ‘AIRWAVE‘ is conceived as more than a sculptural rendition of a traditional vessel.
Fabricated in white painted stainless steel mesh, etherial, translucent, precariously poised, this 6 metre height suspended composition suggests it is more the soul of a vessel than a vessel itself. Rather than in water it floats in air. Phantom-like, this sculpture seems mysteriously poised between the elements where horizon is blurred or lost, its ethos suggesting it exists not only where sea and sky optically merge but in a place where they physically merge too and where they are neither one thing nor the other.
It’s an exploding apparition which draws attention to the tenuous line between liquid, air and that which is solid – water, mist, cloud, even ice. Its anti-gravitational composition ultimately expresses a vision and notion of invisible forces which surround us and which form part of everything which exists – electromagnetic and radio waves, light waves, wind and liquid shock waves as well as gravity and its counterpart relentlessly, persuasively, explosively shaping and forcing us to go with the flow."
Article in Art Style Magazine Winter-Spring 2017 (open Press Article - English / Italian Language)
IL MASSIMO ESPONENTE DELLA SCULTURA IN RETE METALLICA
THE WORLD’S LEADING WIRE MESH SCULPTOR
by Josh Rowell
For his most recent commission David Begbie has created AIRWAVE, a six-meter high sculpture based on a Dhow, a traditional Arabic sailing ship. Made using the artist’s iconic wire mesh technique, AIRWAVE has been meticulously crafted so as to both resemble the ship, but at the same time add an abstracted reading into the very nature of a sailing vessel. AIRWAVE is set to be suspended in the entrance hall of Dubai’s Royal Meridien Beach Hotel in early 2017. Begbie has described the sculpture as ‘an exploding apparition, which draws attention to the fine line between liquid, air and that which is solid’. Begbie’s medium of choice, wire mesh, allows for the artist to undertake such large scale projects with great success and this monumental rendering of a ship, that seems to hang so effortlessly in the air, is just one example of the artist’s ever diversifying practice. Since graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in the early 80’s, David Begbie has garnered the reputation as a leading figure of the wire mesh sculpting movement. Choosing to work primarily with the human form, Begbie’s meticulously crafted figures capture a level of detail that has been compared to the likes of Michelangelo and Rodin. Having perfected his technique over the past three decades, Begbie is able to manipulate wire mesh, both bronze and steel, to his will; achieving an almost hyper real level of exactness, working the metal until it eventually appears as perfectly formed and tactile as the skin of the human body.
He is able to seamlessly match the complex contouring of the nude form, whilst at the same time play with scale. He often switches between a real life scale, to larger than life, as well as occasionally choosing to work on a much smaller scale without ever losing any of the complex detailing he has become so well known for; his playful and diverse approach to the human form showcases what a true master of his craft he has become. His work exists at the interplay of sculpture and light; whilst wire mesh has become the physical medium through which the artist creates his sublime forms, light operates to give them enhanced energy, movement and depth. With the majority of Begbie’s figures suspended around a foot from the wall, the use of spot lighting creates fascinating shadows behind them that operate to show off the intricate details of the manipulated wire mesh, whilst at the same time giving a sense of volume and depth that the artworks so powerfully command.
Recent years have seen David Begbie expand his practice beyond that of the human form and towards creating a diverse range of sculptures, from abstract to representational. It seems that the artist’s wire mesh technique has limitless potential, AIRWAVE being a perfect example of this. Working on a monumental scale, the artist has deconstructed an Arabic Dhow (a traditional sailing vessel used on the Red Sea) into its individual components, bow, mast, sail and so on, before carefully rearranging each section into a complex suspended artwork. Through this work Begbie has sought to create something which is more than the mere sculptural rendering of a sailing ship, but instead something which captures the soul of the vessel, as much as the vessel itself. Fabricated entirely in white painted stainless steel mesh, the artist is quoted as saying, “rather than in water it oats in air. Phantom-like, this sculpture seems mysteriously poised between the elements where horizon is blurred or lost, its ethos suggesting it exists not only where sea and sky optically merge but in a place where they physically merge, to and where there are neither one thing nor the other.”
This highlights the depth of thought behind Begbie’s work, he is seeking to produce art that not only exists as an interpretation of a real object, but which also references the world on an elemental and philosophical level. With Begbie’s practice expanding and evolving at an ever-increasing pace, we are fascinated to see where the artist will take his wire mesh sculpting next. 2017 is expected to see the artist take on yet more exciting new projects and continue to affirm his position as the worlds leading wire mesh sculptor. Running from the 27th to the 30th of January 2017, David Begbie will be exhibited at the 41st edition of Arte Fiera Bologna, where his works can be found as part of the ContiniArtUK booth and Vecchiato Art Gallery.