I found this work via Jonathan Steele. The Italian artist Aron Demetz is not only a gifted wood carver, but of course that really stands out. In a conversation with Alessandro Riva, Aron says he fell in love with wood and the figurative art: I have always been fascinated by people, by what they think and what they have under their skin. The attraction towards the human behaviour and feelings made my choice be a natural consequence and it is, still today, highly spontaneous.
When asked about his sculpture Maren (Good Morning Uncle Willy) he explains: This sculpture has a strange history. When I was in Nuremberg in 1998, two eleven-year-old girls had just been kidnapped, raped and killed. This created a strong state of uncertainty and everybody just spoke about this incident. This is why I decided to make a sculpture inspired by this crime. The daughter of an elder colleague student posed as a model and I portrait her the way she was: naked, inexpressive, with her hand in her lap. I think that the expressive strength of this sculpture lies in its pose: I put her in front of a huge mirror and in order to see her face, I had to bend into the mirror myself. At that point I could see my face reflected in the mirror and it seemed to ask: “What am I doing next to this young naked girl?” This is what every spectator might ask himself, too, when looking into the mirror. This discourse of constriction and embarrassment, my own and hers, the psychological pressure of the public opinion after the murder of the two young girls, I think all this has created a sculpture of great intensity.
The wood is presented as a living and complex material, sometimes resistant and hostile, at others sinuous and compliant; the artist varies his line in the same way: here aggressive and barbaric, there delicate and affectionate. It is a language that, while rooted in the alphabet of a familiar sculptural tradition, is able to formulate an extraordinarily flexible and ample grammar. Yet it is above all on the plane of narrative that Aron Demetz’s work reveals its full expressive potential and its rich gamut of poetry. What emerges here is a surprising literary dimension that silently takes possession of the figure, abandoning all interest in its wooden body, in the colors in which it is clad, in its graceful representativeness. The work seems to be shrouded in a poetic halo which appears completely detached from the linguistic research pursued by the artist. We are aware of a light step that takes the gaze beyond the image, beyond the figure, beyond the material and the color. Then the details of a face, a gesture, a hand emerge: the piercing eyes of a figure with a forlorn and lonely expression, the small detail of a broad forehead that leaves the hair to the role of a distant curtain, the tongue extended in the purifying act of communion, the fingers gathered in a gesture as familiar as it is mysterious. Fragments of an absolutely moving and absorbing tale, bewildered faces that are reminiscent of the secrecy of Felice Castrati’s women or the gentle geometries of Osvaldo Licini, visionary murmurs of a figuration that transcends the image to tackle the deception of appearance, of mystery, of doubt. The same quivering look as the photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto, where reality fades into an impalpable horizon, a soft architecture, an empty screen; the same vaporous narration of Aron Demetz, which spurns the certainty of a schematic and didactic account to confront the enigma of a barely hinted poetry, the mystery of an indefinite tabulation, the visionary character of a fragmented gaze. Excerpt from text by Danile Eccher. Complete here.