Monument for Cervus Vitalis #2 (Malus Sylvestris), 2015
The work of Stief DeSmet is often situated along the fluid boundary between nature and culture. Monument for Cervus Vitalis #2 (Malus Sylvestris) is a life-sized bronze statue of a red deer. The fracture lines between the different body parts are clearly visible and some parts of the deer’s body are actually missing. These elements suggest that the statue is not a complete whole, but a phase of a process. Or could it represent a deterioration, alluding to ancient sculptures with their missing body parts? There are branches growing out of the statue, as if the mutilated but proud deer is still a fruitful source of new life.
This statue is fragmented and yet runs seamlessly into its surroundings, partly thanks to the reflections on the polished segments, Monument for Cervus Vitalis #2 (Malus Sylvestris) is inspired by statues that frequently appear in Flemish front gardens. The rather kitschy garden statuary came into being simultaneously with the industrial revolution. The unfinished statue offers resistance to the stark design of parks, where artificial boundaries were drawn between nature and culture, between humans and the environment. Nowadays the image of the deer summons up at once Christian, commercial, romantic and mythical connotations. The fragmented artwork seems to embody the contradiction underlying the human urge to dominate nature.
Stief DeSmet has recently had solo exhibitions at the NK Gallery, Antwerp (2016), the Cultuurcentrum De Garage, Mechelen (2015) and the C&H Artspace, Amsterdam, the Nederlands (2014). He participated in group exhibitions including the Biennial of painting, MuDeL, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens and Roger Raveelmuseum, Deurle (2018), Beauty of the Beast, Ursel Castle, Hingene (2017) and Triennial of sculpture, Jehay Castle, Liège (2016).
Location: Nature area Garzebekeveld, vijvers Markey, Vijverstraat in Adinkerke
- Tram stop: De Panne Station
- Cycling node: 1
- Walking node: 12