When I initially viewed the sculptures of Italian artist Gehard Demetz, I wasn’t able to pinpoint just what material they were constructed from and was amazed to discover that they are made from wood. Demetz, who applies traditional woodcarving techniques to his contemporary art pieces, shapes small woodblocks into sculptures of children on the cusp of adulthood. Inspired by the religious statues that he observed as a child, Demetz’s subjects are marked by the sometimes brutal transitions of growth and development. As he commented in a conversation with Luigi Fassi:
They live with the burden of guilt transmitted from generation to generation, which doesn’t belong to them. They are children who feel sad about not being able to really be children, but who have, on the other hand, the possibility of choosing to become adults, totally independently, thus freeing themselves little by little of all the influences transmitted by their ancestors.
There is definitely an air of melancholy to Demetz’s sculptures; however, there is also a sense of defiance and power. These symbolic contrasts, which are further evoked physically in the differing textures of each piece, are what make his work so evocative.
Editor’s note: His work reminds me of Willy Verginer, similar style of using wood to make lifelike creations.