Collect Art Magazine TEFAF Issue

Joseph Klibansky

The bronze sculptures of the 28 year old Contemporary Mixed Media Artist Joseph Klibansky are a shining part of the wonderful fantasy world that he let us lose ourselves in in his earlier work.

Klibansky owes its fame to the complex digital collages of world cities, with which he has already established his reputation as an artist.

Collect took a look behind the scenes of the artist, where both large collages as bronze sculptures are getting shaped and where all sails are up to get a sculpture ready for the Tefaf.

The successful artist leads us enthusiastically around in the areas where his laborious art is created. The place where he, in his own words, still walks around like an excited child and feels like a kind of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Here, on an area of 11000 square feet, we find the sophisticated equipment needed to achieve and design what he has in his mind. The technical capabilities of today enable him to create a whole new world around the existing world. The labor-intensive processes needed to complete a work of art include editing around 300 to 600 images and takes hundreds of hours. Recently, Klibansky acquired a magical 3D printer which he uses to create his sculptures, which he then elsewhere casts in bronze.

If there is one word that describes both the artist and his art, it will be the word ‘fusion’. Himself a 'fusion' of a South African photographer and a Dutch stylist, but also innate creativity and knowledge achieved at the business school. His works can be called 'Fusion Art': a mix of digital manipulation, graphic design, painting and template techniques and also content wise there is Fusion Art; in his works Klibansky effortlessly combines reality and fantasy.

From childhood Klibansky has been experimenting with digital imaging.
He decided to make from his hobby his profession, when he discovered that with adding his painting techniques to his imagery, a unique dimension was created. "If I do not sleep, I think of art, I dream my life."

Klibansky had his breakthrough in 2008, with "Heavy Traffic", a work that was immediately striking in technique, but also because of the subject: a bleak picture of a city with posters of Asian women bathing in between large tropical fish in neon colours.
"It was my intention to show to the viewer the quiet, growing influence of Asia on the world," says Klibansky, who is confronting us with his images of densely populated cities of the world of today and the future as ‘science fiction come true’.

According to Klibansky, we are currently in a transition, where the exiled green by urbanization will return to the city and man is facing a more balanced future. He creates a densely populated New York, with people everywhere being busy with everything and nothing, where a waterfall comes from the window of an ivy-covered skyscraper while cranes are quietly and easily flapping by, escaping from the urban hectic downstairs. He also lets hummingbirds, the birds that never sleep, fly around a building on 'High Flyers', as a metaphor for the ever-moving city person. The city and nature are for Klibansky a natural whole.

Balance is an important aspect in Klibansky's works. According to the artist this is the result of the synergy between his fathers photographic eye and sense of colour and his own creativity: "My father is my role model, I hope to get as many skills as my father at the end of the rainbow. "

In the artworks, that are built up layer-by-layer by combining different techniques, architecture plays the main part, especially large and high recognizable buildings. The artworks come in a large format, where after painted details, such as butterflies, birds and plants in neon colours, find their way through the large works. When the work is completed, the finishing touch follows with covering a layer of 3D liquid glass on top of the artwork, for a three-dimensional effect.

The fantasy world that Klibansky conjures with his digital techniques, appeals to the tastes of the contemporary art buyer: "High Flyers" went indeed ‘Skyhigh’ at auction with Sotheby's and hammered of at 34.350, - Euros, a record sum for a young professional.
DJ Armin van Buuren approached him to design covers for his albums with the idea that through Van Buurens music and Klibansky's art, people can escape from the world of today.
Children also like to get lost in his fairytale scenes: "There are parents who choose my art for the nursery room. They find it a nice way to get children familiar with art, because there is much to discover and see on the colourful images.” Due to the size of the artwork - some even cover up to seven meters – they are also very interesting for big companies such as engineering firm Arcadis.

Shiny Vanitas

While his artworks already contain a 3D effect by the use of his magic 3D liquid glass, since he is in possession of a 3D printer, Klibansky can now fully three-dimensionally shape his imagination and creativity.
Klibansky casts the sculptures in bronze in renowned foundries in Pietrasanta or London, depending on the desired bronze coluor (red, yellow or silver, all in high-gloss).
An expensive "hobby", because 70,000 euros was involved in the purchase of the magical machine alone. Add to that the precious material and the casting process abroad and the very time consuming work and it is clear that there is a corresponding price-tag with Klibansky's art.

Currently the studio is extremely busy to get Klibansky’s most recent sculptures ready for the Tefaf.
Enlarged gold casts, that are supposed to be pushed out of a frame like a child’s model toys, contain contemporary icons and symbolize at one hand the course of human life, embryo, heart and orchid to skull, and on the other hand the consumer, including a Starbucks cup, a Coke bottle and an embryo and a skull. Tradition and high-tech are melted together as a shiny whole in this golden contemporary Vanitas.

The 24k gold plated sculpture "Reflections of truth ', which is currently in Singapore, refers to the actuality (a kneeling Pinnochio, with a precious ring around his long nose, referring to greed, wherein man is not afraid to catch the costly with a lie), but it is a message with a wink. "Art should raise questions", says Klibansky.
Just like the layering in shape, each work of art embodies a double bottom in a metaphorical sense. No heavy theories, but a light, colourful and shining reference.

For his 'Beautiful Tomorrow' he chose the white bronze version and he went back to work with the fusion concept: Klibansky’s silver poodle combines beauty and intelligence, according to Klibansky a portrait of success and positivity, sniffing a bright future. "Because it can only get better," said the Digital Mixed Media founder, "I am a true optimist, all the sadness and negativity of this time is not for me, I love being in the now-life, to utilize as many technical possibilities and I dream the future with optimism. "