Interview: Frédéric Demeuse
Luca Curci talks with Frédéric Demeuse during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Born in Belgium in 1978, Frédéric Demeuse is a naturalist and ornithologist by training. He lives and works in Brussels. As a naturalist and visual storyteller, he is both witness and interpreter of all the diversity of this so precious and unique planet we all share. Author of several books, his work has won awards in the most prestigious international competitions as a first prize at the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year. His work is regularly exhibited in Belgium, France and abroad. Frédéric Demeuse’s work aims to transcribe the vital energy, beauty and poetry of our world, from the most subtle details to the most remote and still primary forests to limitless aesthetics, through visual idealism with both revitalizing and resourcing stylisation purpose. His images, combinations of living dreams and pure curiosity give hope that mankind will never forget that our relationship with the biosphere is the most valuable element of our being. The raison d’être of these photos has been to extract the beauty of our common essence from the chaos of this world. From his explorations in immersion in the most varied and remote environments, he brings us back images whose purpose is to question us on the scale of time, on our relationship to the living community and stirs up our curiosity about what exists beyond our human condition. He uses photography as a raw material, a permanent work of observation and research on the light, the texture and the composition of his images.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Frédéric Demeuse – I am a naturalist and ornithologist by training. Drawing my inspiration from the outdoors, I seek meaningful interpretations through photographs which, in an artistically powerful way, transcend the commonplace, reflect deeper insights, and excite the viewer’s aesthetic curiosity. Otherwise, with an art historian mother, I was immersed from a very young age in the artistic universe and particularly that of painting.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
FD – My current artistic practice aims to transcribe the vital energy, beauty and poetry of our world, from the most subtle details to the most remote and still primary forests to limitless aesthetics, through visual idealism with both revitalizing and resourcing stylisation purposes. It has been then a long process since I started with macro and wildlife photography, mainly focused on birds.
LC – How is your creative process?
FD – I try to keep it as simple and spontaneous as possible. Everything outdoors stimulates my soul and my eye, from intimate to majestic landscapes, and this is what I express through my photographs by revealing all these splendours. Through my impressions and sensations of the moment. A huge part of the creative process is when it comes to choosing and editing your files in order to propose a coherent series. Which is a by far the most challenging part of the process. If writer’s block syndrome is well known, the suffering of the photographer in the selection of his photos is rarely mentioned!
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
FD – Ancient and old forests and their secular trees, wetlands and reflections, and icy and geological formations attract me particularly. My studies of nature, ecology, environmental sciences and animal behaviour opened up a very wide field of knowledge to me and became a boundless passion. I never get tired of learning more and more in all these fields. In recent years science has brought a striking light to the plant world and in particular that of trees. A real new revolution is underway after that on the way we considered other non-human animals not so long ago … A new field of exploration is still open to us.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
FD – Humanity has arrived at a crossroads, and all signs point to a new era. I am strongly convinced that Art has the potential to impact the world! It is more important than ever to commit, to learn, to be informed, to be responsible, to keep in mind the brevity of life, to try to achieve your dreams or deliver your message with the means of expression that suits you and if you feel the need. There is nothing more dangerous than having only negative images of our future, nothing more anxiety-provoking than witnessing the current state of our biosphere comfortably installed behind a screen, in total inaction. Because one might be tempted to lose all courage. The games are not yet completely done, we still have a lot of possibilities to pull ourselves together. And artists, be they poets, writers, sculptors or photographers, who sincerely attempt to celebrate beauty wherever it is found, will be needed more than ever. All the more so in a world of eco-anxiety where the proportion of urban citizens keeps increasing. Today, without necessarily admitting it, we suffer from physical and psychological disorders linked to this lack of nature that weighs on us. The disconnection from it, accompanied by a deep disconnection from ourselves, could well be the major source of our problems.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
FD – These artworks have been specially chosen for this occasion.
LC – What is the message linked to the artworks you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
FD – There was intentional symbolism with these 3 refreshing images, echoing a rapidly changing world on the scale of geological time, and that tends to overheat. Showing icy views in the middle of summer may offer a sense of freedom to our minds and imaginations, inviting the viewer to reflect on what could come back and what he would miss at this precise moment when he looks at the image.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
FD – A platform that promotes Art in all its forms, serious and internationally oriented.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists and did you enjoy cooperating with us?
FD – Certainly, and I invite all artists to try their chance. I really enjoyed collaborating with such a professional team.