At the heart of Zadok Ben-David’s Natural Reserve on view at Kew Gardens is a low-lying plot sprouting nearly 1,000 plant species. The sprawling, ecologically diverse installation, which has traveled to multiple cities like Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Paris since 2006, is titled “Blackfield,” a name tied to the flowers’ dualistic nature: one side captures the vibrancy of life through bright, fantastical colors, while the other is painted entirely black.
Containing upwards of 17,000 steel-etched botanicals, the installation considers the precarious line between life and death and how a small shift in perspective can inspire oppositional feelings of either loss or hope. “The relationship between humanity and nature is one which is central to my work. I have always been fascinated by the idea of how humans rely on nature for survival yet seem to forget this essential fact in everyday life,” the Israeli artist says.
In addition to “Blackfield,” Natural Reserve includes a variety of intricate, sculptural pieces, some of which are based on 19th Century illustrations in the garden’s collections, and is on view through April 24. Follow Zadok Ben-David (previously) on Instagram to keep an eye on where his works are headed next.
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