David Jacobson

Sculptor, Artist
BA HONS (sculpt) FRSS.

BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1951 in Namibia when it was still called South West Africa before which it had been German West Africa. The child of Jewish parents, I was a second-generation Namibian (my mother was also born there) growing up under the racist apartheid system in an ex-German colony where the vast majority of African people were disenfranchised. This was my Petri dish for an identity crisis.

Still, it was an amazing and unique place to grow up. The Namib is the oldest desert in the world, all manner of wildlife adapted to survive in this harsh environment was abundant, it would not rain for three years at a stretch and I couldn’t leave soon enough.

Two weeks after graduation after two years at boarding school in South Africa, I traveled to Australia only to find it had the White Australia Policy in effect. I was on an exchange which lasted all of a month before the realization that their school system was more advanced than mine had been and I joined a theatre company and traveled as much as I could.

In Sydney, I experienced my first exposure to modern art. I have a fifteen-second film of Christo warning me to stop filming while he was covering one square mile of a cliff along the coast. South West Africa had no television, but I was extremely fortunate in Australia, I could watch man landing on the moon.

I returned to South Africa after a year and went to drama school in Cape Town interspersed by obligatory national service. After a year I dropped out and returned to Windhoek and a holiday job turned into a year-long stint as a reporter for the Windhoek Advertiser, the only English daily in Namibia.

But I could not stay there and a year later went to Israel where I became a chicken farmer and fisherman on a kibbutz. I began making sculptures on the kibbutz. To remain there would have meant going into another army and the identity crisis became a breakdown and the day before I was to be committed, I was driven to the airport by my saviour and lifelong friend Lee Chaffee bound for London. 

I continued making sculptures in my bedroom and eventually was fortunate to get a place at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and the rest is history. I continue to make sculptures and various 2dimensional works.

In 1981 my wife, Jane Nachtigal and I spent a year in Camaiore (her mother Iris had a house there) and I found studio space at Henraux in Querceta near Pietra Santa. It was a well-known studio where the ‘artigiani’ who were teaching me to work stone also made the work of Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Marino Marini, and other famous artists some of whom I had the good fortune to meet.

I now spend six months of the year in Italy and six months in London and we continue to travel as often as we can usually to see stonework around the world.

2022   THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, Venice, Italy
2021    Time Space Existence, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2020    Open Space, Giardini della Marinaressa, Venice, Italy
2008    BAB Basle, Switzerland. ‘Interpretations of History’
2007    14 Dry River Beds, Chanly Gallery
1997    When Does The Model Become A Sculpture? Gallery A. London
1994    Garden Studio. London
1990    ArtSite, Bath
1985    Benslow Arts Festival
1984    London 2020 Academy Gallery. New Orleans. USA
1982    Omaggio a David Jacobson. Camaiore. Italy
1979    Linda Goodeman Gallery. Johannesburg. South Africa

PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COMMISSIONS

2006/7  Pudding. Intervention @ Cockshaw Burn. Hexham Northumberland
2006     Two Way Street. Brewer Street/Golden Square. London
2005     Split Level, Lovells. Aldwych, London
2002     Looking For Water On Mars. GSK. The Bridge. London
2000     Six Figure Some, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex
1999     Spring Celebration, The Royal Pump Rooms. Leamington Spa
1999     Pedestrian’s Dance, Asticus. Great Marlborough St. London
1999     Deconstructing the Grape, The Vineyard Hotel. Newbury
1998     Landscape Intervention. Longdene, Knebworth
1996/7  Emergent Property, British Consulate General and British Council. Hong Kong
1996     Chain Reaction, New Frontiers Science Park. SmithKline Beecham. Harlow
1996     Twin Peaks, Benfields. London
1996     Sculpture For Sense. Woodside Family Centre. School for Deaf and Blind. Bristol
1994     Yesterday’s Column, Hotel Le Colombier. Colmar, France
1992     Meridian Metaphor. NCC Piazza. East India Dock, London
1991     Vessels For Sunshine, Residence Bellerive, Cortaillod. Switzerland
1990     Monument. Castello di Nelson. Bronte, Catania
1989     Japanese Disc. Vogans Mill. London
1989     Twin Peaks. Benfields. London
1984     Overseas Investment Bank. London
1983     Scott’s. Singapore

WORK IN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Victoria and Albert Museum. London.
Hamilton College of Technology. Hamilton.
Chicago City Art Gallery.
Bradford Institute. Bradford.
Fondazione Pagani. Milan, Italy.
Castello Dei Nelson. Bronte. Sicily.
CEPIS. Instituto dei Arte. Catania. Sicily.
Galleria d’Arte Pavulla. Italy.

PUBLICATIONS AND REVIEWS

2020    BOOK/SANS/FRONTIERS VOLUME 3,4,5 “Love at the time of Coronavirus” by Sarah M Beckett
2009    14 Dry River Beds. A Guided Tour. BAB
2004    Modern British Sculpture. Schiffer Art Books.
2003    Public Sculpture of Warwickshire
2003    Five Sculptors. European Arts Channel.
2000    Focus. Voices of Southern Africa. The Arts Channel.
1997    Natural Stone Specialist.
1996    Evening Standard.
1996    Natural Stone Specialist.
1994    Le Alsacienne.
1994    The Guardian.
1990    Flash Art. (Italian ed; no. 158)
1990    La Sicilia.
1990    Gazzetta Del Sud.
1990    Expresso Sera.
1990    Giornale Di Sicilia.
1982    Tele Camaiore.
1982    La Nazione.
1982    The Art Magazine.
1979    Art Monthly
1979    Express and News.

AWARDS

2021    European Cultural Centre Award. Best art installation in Time Space Existence
1996    Greenham Common Sculpture Proposal.
1996    Wessex Watermark Award. British Conservation Foundation.
1994    R.K. Burt Outstanding Printmaker Award.
1978    Barcham Green Printmaking Award.

David Jacobson is a past editor of SCULPTURE 108 the magazine of the Royal Society Of British Sculptors (RBS). He has exhibited extensively in the U.K. and internationally and has taught at various art schools. He works from studios in Italy and London.