David Begbie discovered the particular properties of steel and bronze mesh as an art student in 1977. Since then his work has been exhibited globally and has been an enormous inspiration to people including architects, designers, photographers, actors, dancers and collectors as well as other artists. His work has been imitated and copied worldwide and the quality speaks for itself.
The preoccupation with the human form as his subject stems from an early age, the fascination for reproducing figurative bodies in mesh has developed extensively over many years. David Begbie achieves fine sculpting detail of musculature and an aesthetic completeness of human form which has even been compared to Michelangelo and Rodin, even though his subject is often that of the partial or truncated figure.Background
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1955 David Begbie’s earliest memories and experiences as an artist are at the age of 13. Already talented, Begbie completed seven years at art school where he emerged with a unique sculptural technique and the beginnings of a new visual language using steel mesh. Since his graduation in 1982 he has worked almost exclusively with the human form, primarily sculpting in steel mesh but also producing monoprints, etchings, ink and charcoal drawings mixed-media work and photographs. It is for his distinctive mesh sculpture that Begbie is most renowned.Steel Mesh
Steel or bronze mesh is transparent – 90% thin air, yet it has as a much greater physical presence than any conventional solid form. Begbie’s skill, perception, understanding and imagination are succinctly contained within the confines of the simple shell that constitutes his sculpture.The Lighting
The introduction of strategic lighting as an integral part of a particular composition has the most remarkable result where the combination of two and three dimensions, with the use of projected shadows, produces an optical fusion of image and object.Steel Panel
The introduction of strategic lighting as an integral part of a particular composition has the most remarkable result where the combination of two and three dimensions, with the use of projected shadows, produces an optical fusion of image and object. It is from this phenomenon that Begbie developed his flat steel panel sculptures which are available in fine art limited editions. Begbie envisaged these works as existing and occupying a space between the three dimensional sculpture and the shadow itself, and in the process has created another new art form. The limited edition sculptures (flat panel work) are a mixture of sculpture and photography. To produce one of the sculptures in a flat steel panel, David must first have made a unique sculpture. It's photograph is then etched out of steel panel.
The portraits are even more of an amalgamation of the two disciplines, with David using the mesh to hold the features together. This new art-form developed in 2005, has enabled David to explore the potential of a single artwork - using colours and different formats to produce variations in mood and effect.Sculpture Effect
The real thrill of Begbie’s work is the experience of seeing it "in the flesh,” the sculpted bodies are powerful, erotic, tactile, and intimate. For the viewer this material adds intrigue yet is somehow familiar; when you first experience Begbie’s bodies you are curious to know how the perfection of form is achieved.
Upon looking further, you become familiar with the properties of the medium - the wire mesh creates a liveliness and sense of movement further enhanced by the use of shadowplay with lighting. Look again closely and you see that there is not even skin, only the graphic delineation of it. In relation to the space it occupies, the catalytic effect a Begbie sculpture has, in any setting, given that it has no palpable substance or surface, is phenomenal. Begbie says of his sculpture “each work is an entity which has a far greater physical presence than any solid object could possibly have because it has the power to suggest that it doesn’t exist.” You have to touch a Begbie to make sure it does.
Museum Collections and Public Installations
2013 Hotel Linde, Mariaworth Austria “Antu”2013 'SOLA', Mews of Mayfair, Knightsbridge, London
2012 Buddha-Bar, Knightsbridge, London
2010 Hanover Grange, Montego Bay, Jamaica “Statu I and Statu II” and “Nuwdstill”
2008 The All England Lawn Tennis And Croquet Club, Centre Court Wimbledon “Grandslam”
2008 Coloplast Limited, Peterborough, England “Olo”
2007 Way of Therapy, London “Otuu”
2007 Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Providence Wharf, Genus Series “Venus” and “Veni”
2006 San Domenico House “Nuuda” “Nuudu” “Tunuud”
2006 62 Threadneedle Street –“Totu”
2005 Shrine of Walsingham, Norfolk “Crucifix”
2005 The Jam House, Edinburgh “Aangel”
2004 Hotel Linde, Mariaworth Austria “Nuda”
2004 Radisson SAS Hotel, Stansted England “Standover”
2002 The Milan Bar, Grants of Croydon, London “Anangel”
2001 Ten Covent Garden, Connaught Rooms, London “Heavenlybodies”
2001 The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, England “Suspense”
2000 Fleet Place House, Holborn Viaduct “Fishnet” 2000 Bede’s World Museum, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear “Worldsapart”