Children’s innocence is lost – their spiritual bodies have been taken over by dark sinister motives to punish and to cause hurt or physically by swarms of insects which cover their faces. Young boys and girls stand like religious statues but in sinister poses while they stand alone or embrace each other, representing a dark, complicated and compromised world. Animals are piled together, hundreds of bodies all in a heap, but with a few, having golden lives, somehow taking over and shining out from the death pile.
The Italian artist Gehard Demetz (born 1972) started his career in the traditional craft of creating religious sculpture but he broke out of this by combining the traditional craft with a more sinister edge, using children to investigate contemporary culture and its destructive tendency through the forces of war, religion, and politics, particularly relevant after the destruction to the UK that politicians seem to have achieved with Brexit and the recent election. A once strong nation, with the heritage of politicians such as Churchill and Thatcher, has been weakened by its leaders, who should have known better and whose role should have been to support and strengthen the country, not to play party politics. Demetz’s works, in this context, frequently use small blocks of wood which are polished on the outside but are rough and very sketchy on the inside, which becomes obvious as the viewer investigates the works – just like recent politics.
A strong and powerful exhibition in Chelsea near the High Line in New York that raises questions about children and their loss of innocence in the modern world but, by a strange coincidence, reflects also in recent political events in the UK.
“My sculptures transmit the awareness of becoming adults and thus losing, as Rudolf Steiner says, their ability to be able to “hear” their unconscious. They live with the burden of guilt transmitted from generation to generation, which does not 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. They are witness to all the effort involved in the process of growth and development, which is achieved through individual will and concentration.” (Gehard Demetz)