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Kastenbaum’s “Light and Shadow” at Bellas Artes

By Magdiel Pérez, translated by Cati Demme

To reproduce an object in its surroundings upon the surface of a sheet of paper, the creator makes use of the basic principles of drawing, the placement of light and shadow, the building of foreshortening to create a realistic image that can seduce the eye of the viewer. In the case of rendering the soul of a man, one must take into consideration the play of the balance of light and shadow, similar to a carved work, finding harmony between his highest virtues and his darkest vices. Take a man with creative spirit, who has lived with passion, with intensity, delving deeply between his own light and shadow, with total self-understanding. This delicate balance is found in the work of sculptor David Kestenbaum, whose life offered up a kind of crucible for art, much like a fire that inflames the soul.

David Kestenbaum Exhibition
“Light and Shadow”
Opening reception
Thu, July 18, 7pm
Bellas Arte
Hernandez Macías 75

Kestenbaum was born to a family of creators. His father, Lothar Kestenbaum, a sculptor who taught at the Bellas Artes school for a great part of his life, left us bronze work that is formally exquisite due to his technical mastery and knowledge of the human figure. His mother, Mai Onno, a painter with an intense expressive force, continues to retrace the path of abstract and expressionist painting. Both are the pillars upon which his most personal work is based.

David was raised around and educated in fine arts and art history, and his young students have been influenced by his strong character and vast theoretical and practical knowledge, and especially by the works he carved that are assembled in this exhibition. This exhibit showcases the classic examples of his sculpture “in the round,” an intimate, familial dialogue relating to the works of his parents, an intense dialogue between creators. In the sculptural pieces of father and son and the paintings of mother and son—the artist and his parentsand in his works on paper and engravings we find the same symbols, the letters of a family alphabet, the intimate conversation in a sealed house, a house rising as a soaring tower, difficult to access. This conversation at times has a prayer-like tone, and other times seems piercing or biting— the type of conversation found in every house where the inhabitants are totally committed to their own work of being, of building, of inhabiting, and consequently of being consumed by the blazing fire of life.

In these stony materials, impenetrable, sealed and polished, there beats that dialogue of emotions and feelings we live out in those critical moments in life. The sculptor presents them to us as live offerings, as a synthesis of his encounters in the blazing forge of his soul.


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