David Zink Yi – artificial nature

Natural artificial

David Zink Yi is a visual artist with a focus on sculpture, photography and video. His sculptural works are often expansive, some of them made of metal. This is where Ferrum Lasercut comes into play. 

Palm trees in nature …

He chose stainless steel as the material for his lifelike replicas of the Washington Robusta palms. In the original, the palms are up to 35 meters high and line many streets and promenades in the south of the USA. This is how they characterize the street scene, especially in California. David Zink Yi reproduces the trees true to scale in a 1:10 format. As detailed and realistic as the palm trees are reproduced, the material makes them appear cool and artificial. A deliberate, irritating contrast that can also be observed in other works by David Zink Yi. 

… and in stainless steel

The palm leaves are produced by Ferrum Lasercut. Lasercut from 0.4 mm thin stainless steel sheet, they are bent freely and by hand on the press brake according to their natural shape – in up to 95 individual bending processes, all of which run exactly to the 48 individual tips of a leaf or the base of the leaf. With 28 to 30 leaves per palm, this is a challenging task for which the employee at the bending bench must not only possess respectable manual skills but also a good deal of patience and concentration. 

Special requirements

The trunk is also made of stainless steel in an art foundry. Later the trunk and leaves are inseparably connected. For this purpose, the 0.4 mm thin, bent palm leaf is welded onto a 4 mm thick cast adapter, which is later screwed to the palm trunk. For this welding process it was necessary to optimize the welding parameters in extensive tests to achieve the best possible result. The greatest challenges were posed in particular by the different material thicknesses and structures. For example, it was not possible to use conventional welding electrodes, as they usually have a flat design. For the special welding connection between the palm leaf and the adapter, the welding electrodes had to be adapted to the corrugated contours of the components using a CNC milling machine.

Distribution area of the stainless steel palms

The stainless steel palms belong to the “nickel silver” series of works. They can be seen at the Galerie König in Berlin, among others, and again and again in exhibitions and museums around the globe.

The artist 

David Zink Yi was born in 1973 in Lima, Peru. The son of a Chinese mother and a Peruvian father came to Germany at the age of 16. During his studies at the University of Fine Arts in Munich and the Academy of Arts in Berlin, he attended the master class of Lothar Baumgarten. He received various artist scholarships and was awarded the ars viva prize of the German economy in 2004. Today he lives and works in Berlin. 

  • Design: David Zink Yi
  • Project title: stainless steel Palm trees “Neusilber”
  • Metal works: Palm tree leafs: Ferrum Lasercut GmbH 
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Link: www.davidzinkyi.net

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