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Aron Demetz - Dialogue with life

Category: Portrait 23. July 2013

CastYourArt invitation

Aron Demetz | Robert Pan
Exhibition opening: August 6th, 2013 | 5.00pm-7.00pm
Exhibition: August 7th - 25th, 2013 | 11.00am-7.00pm
Location: CastYourArt, Franz-Josef-Straße 12, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

He has embraced tradition in order to „forget it again“: wood as a challenge and possibility of failure. An artist-portrait of the sculptor Aron Demetz.

Aron Demetz eliminates the classical dichotomy of „original vs. effigy”, and instead addresses an interaction: man has a position in the natural space that surrounds him, is formed by it and in turn has an effect on it; this is not a static interaction but rather a continuous, living process. Man and his body become protagonist and theatre of the action at the same time, within the relationship between the single object and its location within space. Demetz’ examination of space demonstrates that the figures enter into a dialogue about the possibilities of the location with the viewer.

Knowledge of the preconditions demanded by wood as a working material is of decisive importance in this approach: its physical nature influences its treatment; additionally a further means is applied: the charring of the surfaces. The power of the elements is being celebrated in coming to be as well as in passing away, furthermore the twofold effect of energies are highlighted: once in growth and then in the fire as a procedure of dematerialisation. Here we are confronted with a deep understanding of the elementary vitality of the wood.

By his preoccupation with wood and his profound artistic exploration of this material Demetz has his place within contemporary art, even though he perceives himself as an outsider. He uses the tree in its various forms of appearance as structure and source of insight. For his figure he uses the chainsaw and the axe, the finer work is done with mallet and chisel. His preliminary studies in figurine format document the precision with which he handles his tools.

Demetz brings us back to the woods and to a time when it was perceived as a sentient, living being. He is an artist who masters his craft as well as the principles of anatomy and its proportions; he produces small figurines of cedar wood as a preparation. With their animate appearance, they seem to return the gaze of the viewer.

This feeling is reinforced by the fact that Demetz does not overwork his material and avoids shaping the surface in a too pleasing manner – he conveys a feeling for the vulnerability of the matter. Demetz does not fear highlighting the mortality and to confront physical limitations, in contrast to any slick aestheticism.
Availing himself of the element of fire, he shapes the surfaces of the sculptures in an intensive, almost ritualistic procedure. The process of this charring profoundly transforms the perception of the figure: a warm, familiar vegetal material turns into something mineral on its surface. The black of the surface requires a different way of seeing, it alters perception. It alludes to the process of growth and decay, and to death.
If man-made effigies should be the only means to confront the reality of ones own physical limitations, in opposition to prototypes manipulated by aesthetics of the advertising industry, Demetz does it with his original material and formal vocabulary. Within his figurative approach his genuine truth of the world is mirrored.
Rather than mere bodies, he displays bodiliness. Even though he is neither too reduced nor cautious in his formal language, walking a fine line he manages to convey a feeling of inner fragility and subtlety without becoming sentimental. He is also able to show wit without becoming ridiculous. Demetz liberates his figures from everything that would turn them into individuals, and carves out a clear, vivid humanity that has a real and unembellished sensual feel to it. (written by Cem Angeli)

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