Tropical Inspiration

Multi-disciplinary, celebrity-patronised Swiss artist Natanel Gluska tells us a little about himself, his art, and what prompted his move to Singapore

08 Aug 2012

Ranging from audaciously modern to almost tribal and fusing loving craftsmanship with a sumptuous, natural luxury, Gluska’s art refuses definition.

The artist’s pieces have struck a nerve with collectors, eagerly snapped up by the likes of Ian Schrager, Philippe Starck, Karl Lagerfeld and Donna Karan and featured at the Kortrijk Biennale, Sotheby’s Gallery and Art Basel.  

And yet when asked about such topics as inspiration, artistic formation and choice of medium the Israeli-born Swiss is disarmingly nonchalant, uttering zenlike phrases such as “nothing has inspired me to be an artist.  There is nothing to inspire you to be an artist, you are an artist. Its not a choice, it’s a need” and “my utilitarian objects are pieces of art, I don’t differentiate.  You can carve a toothpick and turn it into a sculpture”. 

Gluska’s Majestic (top) assembles 70 pieces of preserved, recycled wood into a pastiche that is both strikingly unique and inviting. 

The Long 8 (above) exemplifies the artist’s organic, evolving approach to his pieces – originally sculpted from a single piece of wood the chair can be recreated in many mediums and colours, lending myriad finishes to the archetype. 

Gluska’s recent relocation to Singapore is the result of his fascination with Asia and the tropics, and gives him the opportunity to benefit from affordable, skilled hand workers proficient in a variety of mediums. Whilst he comments that the finish quality in Europe is still generally superior, he is delighted by the ease with which he comes into contact with manufactures, materials and craftsmen, not to mention the colorful and sunny environment. 

In this he is amongst a growing community of creatives practicing in a variety of disciplines and mediums that have felt the allure of the east, resulting in thriving hubs of artists developing across Asian urban centers. With such a dense concentration of manufacturing, skilled craftsmanship, international exchange and the general enthusiasm of economic buoyancy, it is no wonder the region is producing so much of such high quality.

Natanel Gluska