In today’s society, it is often believed that children possess a unique wisdom that adults do not have access to. Their innocence and naivety allows them to view the world without the cynicism and jadedness that comes from years of experience. Gehard Demetz, an Italian artist known for his large-scale wood sculptures, captures this notion in his work. He portrays children as powerful figures, wise, self-aware, and courageous. With his exceptional craftsmanship, Demetz creates lifelike sculptures that captivate viewers and invite them into a world of haunting details. In an exclusive interview, he shares his philosophies behind his sculptures and sheds light on his creative process.
Demetz’s preferred medium is wood, specifically lime, due to its consistency and monochromatic color that enhance the construction of his pieces. In the past, he has also experimented with bronze and Plexiglass. His choice of material, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail, contributes to the profound impact of his sculptures.
When asked about the contemplative expressions on the faces of the children in his sculptures, Demetz explains that his inspiration comes from his interest in Anthroposophy, a belief system developed by Rudolf Steiner. Steiner’s idea that children up to the age of six live unconsciously, inheriting and processing experiences from their ancestors, resonated deeply with Demetz. His artistic interpretation portrays children who possess an adult awareness of their existence and the weight of past experiences that have been passed down to them. These young figures bear the burdens and responsibilities of their forefathers, carrying a blame that is not truly theirs. Demetz suggests that the transition into adulthood may offer an escape from this inherited baggage, but wonders if it truly does.
A striking characteristic of Demetz’s sculptures is the use of small blocks of wood that don’t fit together perfectly, creating an intentionally incomplete feel. Upon closer inspection, these rough details become apparent, adding to the overall aesthetic of the work. Demetz explains that the structure of these sculptures, reminiscent of computer science modules, symbolizes the fragmented nature of life and personal experiences. Our identities are constantly evolving, never fully completed or fixed.
When it comes to the process of creating his compositions, Demetz reveals that he keeps a diary where he writes down thoughts and sketches. This serves as the starting point for his sculpting, as he engages in a dialogue with his work, allowing it to evolve and potentially lead him to unexpected results. This organic approach emphasizes the importance of the artist’s relationship with their creations and the role that intuition plays in the creative process.
A recurring motif in Demetz’s sculptures is the inclusion of children holding wooden objects in an aggressive manner, appearing as though they are pointing weapons. Demetz clarifies that these objects are made of wood, not metal. Each object holds its own significance, and the way it is utilized by the child alters its meaning. This nuanced choice adds another layer of complexity to the narrative and challenges viewers to contemplate the intentions and emotions behind the figures’ actions.
Living in a rural area, Demetz is undoubtedly influenced by nature and the land that surrounds him. However, he also acknowledges that his travels to large cities have an impact on his work. This juxtaposition between the tranquility of rural life and the hustle and bustle of urban environments adds a dynamic element to his artistic expression.
Looking ahead, Demetz is excited about an upcoming collaboration with the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. This opportunity will undoubtedly provide him with a platform to showcase his extraordinary talent and continue pushing the boundaries of his craft.
In conclusion, Gehard Demetz’s wood sculptures present a profound portrayal of children as wise, self-aware, and courageous beings. His artistic process, inspired by Anthroposophy and personal introspection, adds depth and complexity to his work. The intentional use of incomplete structures and the inclusion of significant objects challenge viewers to question the meanings behind the sculptures. Demetz’s proximity to nature and his exposure to diverse settings contribute to the richness of his artistic vision. With future projects on the horizon, it is clear that Gehard Demetz’s talent and ability to captivate audiences will only continue to grow.