David Datuna is a New York-based artist focused on the convergence of art and social consciousness. He is most widely known for his Viewpoint of Millions series that explores the sources and meaning of cultural identity from each unique point of view.
Datuna’s signature technique in Viewpoint of Millions is a network of positive and negative optical lenses suspended over a large-scale layered, collaged and painted image. The mixed media palette often includes photography, newspaper articles, magazine clippings, paint and color.
The prismatic surface both hides and reveals the work below, while the lenses symbolize individual identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation and unification. Portraits, flags and icons are recurring themes within the Viewpoint of Millions series. Datuna’s artwork is a political, cultural and commercial commentary on our current collective consciousness.
In December 2013 David Datuna became the first artist in the world to utilize wearable technology in a contemporary work of art on a monumental scale with Portrait of America – the first installation in his Viewpoint of Billions series. Portrait of America debuted during Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 at The New World Symphony, then headed to the Lincoln Center in New York.
In February 2014, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery featured Portrait of America, where record-breaking 27,000 visitors waited for over two hours to see Datuna's work, expanding the definition of a 21st Century portrait.
A feature length documentary film that traces Datuna's journey from Tblisi, Georgia to today was completed in 2015, and is currently playing at film festivals around the world. Along with critical acclaim, the movie won the prestigious Best Feature Film award at the Raindance Film Festival in London.
In 2016 David unveiled his Make America Stronger Together mobile art installation in front of the Trump Tower in New York, and has taken it all over New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and Florida. The work has since then has become one of the most iconic images from the 2016 Presidential Elections election cycle, featured in publications such as Forbes, Fortune, USA Today, and Mashable, among others, in America, and a host of international publications.
The 10 x 20-foot mixed-media sculpture was created in Datuna’s signature style contrasting different points of view challenging a fragmented contemporary culture. The installation consists of two American flags facing back-to-back covered in a collage of newspapers, quotes, and images reflecting the current climate with the messages “SOS” and “ONE.”
Following his battle with cancer, Datuna established The Fund for Life, a philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting fatal diseases worldwide. In conjunction with the Fund, David also established the Life Award, which is given to corporations and individuals for exceptional contributions to sustaining and saving of human lives.
David Datuna’s mixed media sculptures have received critical acclaim on three continents for over a decade, merging elements of conceptual and pop art, creating a thoughtful and visionary body of work celebrating cultural identity and freedom.
Smithsonian Magazine noted his work as an important moment in art history: "As a work of art, Portrait of America marks a dynamic contemporary moment in the intersection of culture and technology. Datuna, an émigré from Soviet Georgia, used Google Glass as a 21st-century tool to illustrate the nation’s continuing sense of “E Pluribus Unum.” The flag’s symbolism conveys the idea that, despite today’s cultural fragmentation and diversity, we are somehow still bound together, one from many."
David has continued to press the boundaries of art in exploring how we perceive cultural identity as individuals, social groups, even nations. He explores the meaning and sources of complex cultural identity through conceptual iconography based on portraits, flags and icons. Lying beneath the undulating surface of eyewear fused together to create a prismatic surface, is a fragmented layer of collaged images and text harvested from political, cultural and social publications. Datuna's objects stand in witness to the history and powerful status of the celebrated emblems captured, distilled and subsequently reflected back to us for personal re-examination. His artwork pays tribute both to Jasper Johns' series of American flags and to the exploitation of the found object and collage tradition. Yet perhaps more powerfully, it imbues timeless images with new meanings by anchoring them both in the present and in their rich history.
Structurally, the eyeglasses are a symbolic expression of identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation and unification. For the artist eyeglasses represent our diverse society with peoples of all different color, sizes and shapes–each with their own positive and negative points of view. From a distance the sculptures can be seen as a kaleidoscopic image that unifies the whole as a symbol; on closer inspection, the viewer can discern collaged books and newspapers headlines of political and social culture, along with pop culture images of celebrities, innovators and leaders that dared to be different. The themes provide not opinion, but a roadmap to identity and history, encouraging people to thoughtfully consider, ponder and respect individual viewpoints from their point of view.
David Datuna exhibits widely in the US, Europe and Asia, and is well represented in important private collections worldwide.
Artist’s projects and websites:
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