In his work and life Stief Desmet (Belgium °73) is preoccupied by the ambiguous relationship between nature and culture and the manipulation of nature by human hands. The artist seems to be constantly caught between his actual existence in a hectic, consumption-based modern day society and a longing for a sublime, utopian natural state. At the same time he is critical and in a subtle way he recognises the relativity of this longing for an idyllic fantasia with a serious dose of irony. By cutting up iconic images (or literally cutting his bronze and polyester sculptures and paintings in pieces) he counters possible significations, adds a stratum of significance or deludes the spectator.
His studio practice isn’t focused on one medium, instead he switches easily between painting and sculpting,video or performance.
After living in Ghent and L.A. for several years he retreated to the peaceful village of Bachte-Maria-Leerne, a few kilometers south of Ghent near the idyllic Leie river, where he works and lives with his wife and two children in a former farm. There he has several studiospaces with different specifications where you can fiend him at work, depending the mood of the day. For many artist friends it’s a relief to be there and have diner or some fine beers in the garden, far away from the hectic art scene.
Desmet’s work is found in private collections in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, U.S.A., Switserland and in public spaces in Belgium and The Netherlands.