Israeli artist Chen Winkler created his first sculpture when he was just six years old. He says he does not remember what he held first, a pencil or a chisel, but one thing he clearly remembers: art and creation always were his source of strength and inspiration. As they still are today.
Winkler is a sculptor , painter, photographer, writer, creator and inventor, ninth generation in Israel and third generation in the family marble factory in Netanya, where the seeds of his art were planted. He grew up in the factory in the constant presence of his grandfather, artist grandfather, who was and still is a source of inspiration for him. Chen combines his natural talent with depth of professional knowledge that he acquired, and over the years he improved his technique while using advanced equipment for his artworks in stone, always aspiring to perfection. He creates monuments and monumental sculptures that are displayed throughout Israel and worldwide as well as sculptures for the home and stone and marble reliefs. “My connection to stone is deep, and so too is my knowledge of the qualities of the material", he says. “I examine the raw material thoroughly and sometimes already at first glance at the unworked stone I envision the complete sculpture., At other times an idea strikes me when I wander among the stones, and then I see the precise, most suitable one.
In his artworks and sculptures Winkler seeks to emphasize the stone’s natural character and to translate a visual line of images into flowing, dynamic and harmonious shapes, while keeping to the limits of minimalism. He says that he travels in Israel and abroad to seek special stones and raw materials to suit his creations, which have been exhibited over the years in a variety of solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Recently he has also branched out into small items and miniature sculptures. The first jewellery was born of a wave of inspiration and a search for an Israeli product – a distillation of creativity and impressive technical qualities. Chen fashioned objects from Jerusalem stone taken from the Judean hills, and later connected to basalt from the Tiberias region. “This is inspiration from the holy places,” says Winkler, who sculpts jewellery with Israeli motifs that fill him with pride. “The moment when I decided to work with precious stones and crystals was a defining one,” he says.
“Particularly using stones with unique energies and qualities. I was inspired by the connection with the dozen gemstones that were set into the breastplate worn by the High Priest in the Temple; these are the gems that represent the Twelve Tribes. Sages and healers have used crystals for healing, for energetic balance, and even for protection from ancient times until today.”
Winkler says that at first he was hesitant to work with expensive gems, but his passion for research, learning and getting to know new materials and techniques helped him start. Thus, the collection was born, which consists of 250 models of jewellery containing natural stones and gems and behind them an imaginary line that connects them to the land and the country. “Someone who wears or holds them connects to what they represent, the places that appear in them, the symbols and maps according to which they were designed,” he says. “For me the combination of the raw materials and the designs derived from Israeli motifs creates an ideal gift that embodies the beautiful Israel. My aspiration is that the jewellery will also go overseas and connect the recipient of the gift to Israel. What moves me most is that already, without advertising, hundreds of pieces of jewellery from the ‘Israeli collection’ have been purchased by tourists who have come to Israel and bought them for themselves or for their loved ones as a symbol that connects them to our amazing country.”
The jewelry is marketed by Agat Art Design Ltd.
As an artist and a sculptor who works between two extremes, between monumental sculptures and delicate jewellery, Winkler does not stop. He is now continuing to challenge the existing limits in preparation for the next thing – magnified jewellery that will be a kind of sculpture. He has scaled up the tiny designs to dimensions of about a meter. “Art and craft go together, flow and develop,” he says and tells us that he is also preparing for an exhibition in which he will launch a series of jewellery-sculptures in special sizes.
In collaboration with Agat Art Design