Gehard Demetz was formally trained in the tradition of religious sculpture in his hometown in the Dolomites – a centuries old craft in the region. He eventually started making his own sculptures in his spare time informed by the iconography of his trade. His sculptures use children as the main subject to investigate contemporary culture and its destructive tendency through the larger forces of war, religion, and politics. One of the most startling technical features is the construction using small woodblocks and juxtaposing finely polished parts to very rough and sketchy surfaces.
In a recent interview with Dazed Digitali, Demetz explains his choice to use children as subjects: “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.”
Demetz was born in Italy in 1972 and lives and works in Selva. He studied at the Institute of Art in Selva 1986 to 1989 and then went on at the same school to study sculpture. After a 1992 apprenticeship with Matthias Resch, Demetz received his degree in 1995. In 2000 to 2001 to further his education he spent the summers at the Salzburg International Academy studying with several well-known teachers.
Jack Shainman Gallery first started working with Demetz in 2011. His first solo exhibit was entitled Threshold Space (2012).