Featured Public Art: Fusion by Gedalia Ben-Zvi
Martin Selig is an avid art collector with dozens of public art installations across the city. From the giant Red Popsicle on Fourth and Blanchard to the modernist Songbird statue on Fifth and Yesler, Martin has a wide variety of public sculptures Seattle residents have come to know and love. This month, we’re featuring one of his public sculptures located at 635 Elliott Ave, “Fusion” by Gedalia Ben-Zvi. This piece showcases four towering people joint at their base, welcoming a fifth person into their circle. This sculpture is one of the many public art installations located at 635 and 645 Elliott West.
The Story Behind “Fusion”
Gedalia Ben-Zvi created this piece to showcase themes of community and belonging. Humans, Ben-Zvi says, have a unique ability to come together to form families and communities. The beauty of the human race, he believes, lies in the ability to work together to accomplish things that would be impossible as individuals. This message is communicated through the four individuals welcoming a fifth into their circle, creating an eternal “fusion” for which the statue is named.
The “open head” design, or the inclination of these statues with their heads tilted upward and outward, is meant to symbolize welcoming new ideas and understandings into a group’s ideologies.
Ben Zvi created this piece in 2005 using the traditional Israeli bronze casting technique, a method he favored for its durability. Martin Selig later acquired the statue in 2008.
About The Artist: Gedalia Ben-Zvi
Czechoslovakian artist Gedalia Ben-Zvi was born in 1925. He had a passion for art from a young age, until Nazi Germany and World War II swept across Europe. Ben-Zvi and his family were forced first into Slovakia, then into a concentration camp in Poland in 1942. After nearly three years in the concentration camp, Ben-Zvi managed to escape into the forests of Northern Poland where he stayed until 1948 when he traveled to Israel via the Camps of Cyprus.
After escaping the horrors of the war, Ben-Zvi was able to once again explore and cultivate his passion for the arts. In 1954, he became a resident of Israel’s Ein Hood artist community, where he taught and practiced art for the next several decades. In his biography, he explains living in this community and creating art with like-minded people gave him a sense of stability, community, and belonging after his family was torn apart during the war. Many of his works of art are inspired by these themes and are physical representations of these musings, feelings, and ideas.
To learn more about the Selig art collection and various public art installations and sculptures in Seattle, visit our website today!