As the descendant of a wandering ancestry, Demester is influenced by a wide variety of cultures and traditions. It is also an inherited wanderlust that drew the artist to Africa in 2015, where he was invited for a residency at the Zinsou Foundation in Benin. During the residency in Cotonou, he discovered an alternate way of connecting to the world, through the power of magic, rituals and dances inspired by a keen observance and insightful knowledge of nature as well as of the spiritual world. He eventually returned to Benin in 2018, where he completed several new works.
"It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker and my soul calmer."
F. Nietzsche, in Thus Spoke Zarathoustra, Le Livre de Poche, 1972
The Vins d'Anjou series deals with the reproduction of the colour of blood before oxidation. Running through our veins, blood can change from bluish to yellowish, sometimes nearly translucent, nuances. Only when in contact with air does it turn into the deep red that became its main attribute. The canvas and its traditional cross-shaped wooden frame are here turned into octagonal paintings.
The works express a dialogue with figuration and natural elements, as well as with the personal history of the artist (memories from his childhood or from recent trips to Africa and America). These memories are embodied by sunrises and sunsets, forests and timeless moments between the past and the present, raising questions about the ideas of still-life and subjectivity.
A language that is neither abstract nor figurative is employed by the artist in a series of paintings inspired by the patterns of war paintings of native American-Indian tribes. Using specific industrial and military painting techniques, Demester conceives each series as an experiment oscillating between building up a visual information and implementing the techniques of its subsequent distortion.
For the exhibition hall in Weidingen, Demester presented an altar of an imposing scale that combines several techniques dear to the artist. When closed, the altar alludes to the artist's series Vins d’Anjou. The metallic outer surface of Demester's altar diffuses colour as opposed to canvases that tend to absorb it. The inside of the altar is covered by a vivid application of bright yellow, orange, red and blue paint. Reminiscent of flickering flames, the brushstrokes spread over the entire surface of the triptych, introducing the viewer to a dreamy, expressive landscape.
All above texts: Galerie Max Hetzler