David Zeller Zed

David Zeller

  • "A roof over one's head"


Behaviourist artist Zed depicts human attitudes through his Flexo figure. He has created a special version of it for the winners of the ArchiCOTE 2015 competition.


The little chap who goes by the name of Flexo is an acrylic sculpture thermoformed by hand to adopt an endless array of postures. If today David Zeller, known as Zed, is represented by 30-plus galleries and prestigious establishments in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, and takes his little Flexo figure around the world for exhibitions such as the recent Best of France event in New York's Central Park, it's undoubtedly because his work has a universal aspect that strikes a chord in every one of us. For the ArchiCOTE 2015 competition he has crafted a Flexo with arms raised to form a triangle above its head, a reminder of the importance of the home, that vital shelter, and the protective virtues of so many architects' designs.


First steps in wood
Zed was born in Alsace and began creating at a very early age, a visceral need. At 27 he went off to live on Guadeloupe, the French Caribbean island where he would spend seven years. "I found a bit of wood that I felt the urge to carve," remembers this born artist. "So I went and bought a gouge and my first sculpture was born." Seeing what he was
crafting, his employer thought it best to let him go, with the wise advice: "You must devote yourself to your art." From then on success came knocking. Barely six months later Zeller was listed on Artprice and then asked to make a wood sculpture for footballer Lilian Thuram. In two years he produced nearly 70 pieces, his bulimic passion occupying him day and night. The human body was already Zeller's favoured subject in the form of busts and figu- res, but his work was to take a new direction. To liberate his art he chose to settle in Italy, after a visit to Alsace: "It was winter and I didn't have a studio.
I salvaged some acrylic- glass offcuts and created Flexo, with the idea of making art comprehensible to everyone."


Be cool, be desperate, be active
Exit the natural aesthetic aspects that had so far preoccupied him; two arms, two legs and a head now sufficed for communicating all the complexity inherent in human beings. His Flexos are all the same but each is different. And he adds: "Since I created this little chap I've the impression he's always pulling me by the hand towards new horizons." Flexo comes in an unending succession of scenarios, from small models created in series of 100 to very large versions in acrylic glass, chromed steel or even bronze. "I've made more than 5000 and I've quite a relationship with these pieces, as if they were all babies that I craft with my own hands." As we look at this figure, anything from 40cm to 1.4m tall, our brain doesn't need to think; we easily identify with Flexo, his almost directional silhouette reconnects us with our day-to-day emotions. He is something of every one of us without being anyone in particular.