Georg Demetz Pilat was born in 1962, the fourth generation of a family strongly linked to the art of wood carving. After completing his sculpture studies at the Institute of Art in Ortisei, he had the opportunity to learn the trade from various masters. In 1987 he obtained the title of master sculptor and started his own business. He works in his workshop in Ortisei where he creates unique pieces in wood and bronze.
Please, tell us your story.
My earliest memories are all related to sculpture: my great-grandfather, grandfather and my father were all sculptors, a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation, through secrets and artisanal knowhow. For me, attending art school was a spontaneous and completely natural choice. Immediately after school I started working in the workshop with my dad. Then in 1987, at the age of 28, I graduated as a Master of Art and since then I have been pursuing the family profession alone, in my laboratory.
My earliest memories are all related to sculpture: my great-grandfather, grandfather and my father were all sculptors, a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation
Surely, in addition to the faces that I meet every day and that I try to remodel on wood, the territory has had a fundamental importance in my work.
Is there a person who influenced the choice of your profession?
There is not a single person who has had a particular influence in my life. As I said above, for me sculpture was a natural continuation of my life and work path. Sculpture has always been my passion since I was seven and my dad gave me my first gouges with which the first attempts at carving and making small works began.
How do you choose the wood with which you create your works?
I use only one type of wood, Swiss pine, which is very suitable for my sculptures due to its malleability and plasticity. This wood is found in abundance in my Region, between 1500 and 2200 meters above sea level: it is a very fragrant and delicate wood.
What is your source of inspiration?
I have always been fascinated by people who lead a simple life and are characterized by their strong character. What I do with my job is to represent the quality of these characters, making them as likely as possible, looking for the maximum expressiveness of the faces and the immediate sense of their strength. I model the faces, the clothes and the poses in order to offer an all-round vision of the person represented, hoping that the characteristics that fascinated me and that I try to impress in the wood can shine through.
How much does the territory influence your poetics?
Surely, in addition to the faces that I meet every day and that I try to remodel on wood, the territory has had a fundamental importance in my work: sculpture, in Ortisei, has a history of over 300 years and over time I have been able to meet many good sculptors, to compare myself with them and at the same time to draw from a tradition rooted in time.
Is there a work to which you are particularly attached? Why?
I have a work that I keep in the living room. It represents are two aged persons who lived in Ortisei: they spent a very simple life, but with a very interesting, decisive, sweet and determined character. After 10 years of photos and videos I decided to start sculpting them, thus making them forever imprinted in the wood. Unfortunately, as I started sculpting, Luis - one of the two figures represented - passed away. This work will always remain with me, a symbol of a very important memory.
How do you combine tradition and innovation in your profession?
Tradition and innovation come together very well, the important thing is to perform the sculpture with all the soul and with the desire to make it come out perfect from a piece of wood.
What does it mean for you to be a MAM?
The profession of sculptor is very difficult and you have to be idealistic and dedicate a lot of time to study with many sacrifices. Being awarded as a MAM is a great honor and gives me a lot of energy to continue my work with enthusiasm.