Jérémy Demester explores the nature of art and its relation with the founding myths of our world: symbolism, energies, alchemy, fate, sacred representations... His paintings and sculptures can thus never be taken at surface value as they are always layered with diverse, and sometimes cryptic, meaning. His work, often the result of collaboration (with craftsmen, children, scientists, philosophers and friends, who form what he names La Demestria), avoids being self-involved and rather opens itself to the world. In reference to his nomadic roots, Demester describes himself a gypsy painter and a quest for identity underpins his work.
“I met the artist a few years ago when he was studying and painting pallid young women in works that displayed real painterly accomplishment. He also made surprising erotic sculptures using embalmed quails (Reclining Ouails) and created delicate prints of dead birds. In this way he maintained a link with his childhood, which he spent in a gypsy camp in the South of France. Wanting to keep his pets after they had shuffled off their mortal coil, the young boy took to stuffing them in accordance with Ancient Egyptian rites. His work is thus infused with a mysticism in which life and death dance a continuous two-step. In a few years his work has moved on considerably, guided by the desire to experiment with new techniques and explore esoteric sources. (…) Demester has continued these experiments in large-format paintings that oscillate between abstraction and figuration. Combining paint and acids, some take the form of tormented explorations of material texture, suggesting the surface of planets viewed by a probe launched years ago into the far reaches of the cosmos. Others offer glimpse of what we imagine are religious themes, such as black Virgins with halos, fragmented in explosions of gold and blue. (…) Demester's art feeds on occult literature, mainly in the alchemical tradition (…) We may recall the alchemists' adage: "Lege, lege, relege... Iabora et invenies" (Read , read, reread, work, and you will find). To read, reread and connect phenomena and transcribe them as forms: that is the goal Demester has set himself.”
Richard Leydier. Introducing: Jeremy Demester, in Art Press 426, October 2015.
Image: Le privilège des chemins, 2017, oil on canvas, 230 x 160 x 3,5 cm