Time and space are the most important elements of our physical and spiritual world. Through it we can understand, by looking back, our own journey.
Luis Demée did not stop in the watercolours of the exhibition. Instead, they were the beginning of his own journey.
Although Luis Demée was already very proficient in oil painting, when he left for Portugal in 1952 he found a much more developed environment in the Fine Arts School and while he observed and absorbed the art movements of that period, boats and Chinese culture references can be found.
Painting does not require an explanation. It should exist by itself, as an autonomous expression such as music. However, for the general public to understand the journey of evolution of the artist, this part will have the function of helping to decipher a little of what is the world of Luís Demée.

1940s

This oil painting is an example of Luís Demée's self taught skills as a youngster in Macau, before leaving to Portugal for his Art studies in Lisbon and then in Porto.

1950s

During this period of adaptation to the new reality, we can see  dramatic changes in his way of painting as well as a perfect knowledge of the use of colour. While he still keeps Chinese themes, he also adheres to the Neo-Realism movement where social conditions of people are depicted with two symbolic crucifixions of exploited workers, a social combat that many artists adhered to in the days of Portugal's dictatorial repression.

Yet the aesthetical research does not cease, and while Demée paints boats on the Douro river, he begins his journey into abstractionism, always inspired by maritime life.

1960s      

This drawing at the exhibition is still recognizable as a scene of junks, but the rendition is now entirely different. Luis Demée sees his topics under a purely abstract way. In the records we have, this drawing paves the way for...

his abstract thesis, which earned him the highest marks and a Magna cum laudae commendation in 1960.

Luis Demée's insatiable quest for research leads him back to his beloved boats, on the red painting on the left, now turned into what contemporary art is: shapes, colours, volumes, composition. The first painting shows an interesting spiral, something of an implosion which will develop into a vertical painting where we can see shaped strokes create a dialogue between the upper half of the painting and the lower half. The artist then adds another element: texture. Now the strokes acquire a third dimension, yet there are still reminiscences of sails and masts all grouped into what could be a ship. The creative process becomes more frenetic as Demée explores thick paint applied to the canvas in a strong and affirmative way.
We are on pure painting territory where shapes may be inspired by the real world but acquire an autonomy of their own.

Textured painting continues in a most rich, inquisitive and creative way. In the second painting of this abstract expressionist painting, Luís Demée creates an archipelago of tri-dimensional strokes that take a tremendous dynamism. Then, in this brief tour of his work, those strokes become quieter and take a more geometric tendency in the third painting. The progression is fast. In the same decade, just five years after his thesis, the last painting returns to a bi-dimensional level, incorporating however new textures achieved by layers of transparencies interplaying with much more defined geometrical areas of colour, never flat. This is a tremendous achievement in aesthetical research and evolution.

1970s      

This painting is of the foremost importance to understand one other area of the continuous research by Luis Demée.

At the same time the artist continues to explore his experiences from the past decade. The painting on the left dates from 1968 while the one on the right is from 1971.
Luis Demée is working frantically in different fronts, experimenting, then consolidating, always going into new areas, which are then consolidating.

In the same decade Luís Demée explores some collages inspired by Pop Art while including them on his earlier geometrical structure. The artist is of great coherence.

The painting of the soldiers lined up was the announcement of the artist's incursion into Op Art which he always did it in his own specific way. Through this period it is possible to see the artist researching colour very deep terms of which it would become another addition to his vocabulary. Note the cohabitation of a very poetic painting on the left dated 1971 and the more flat paintings.

On all of his experiences, Luís Demée adds up to his vocabulary, as can be seen in a detail of a painting done in the 1980's on the far right.

 

 

This is a 1974 painting which reveals a return to the old topic of water and reflections with ship signal flags and other elements from his travels.

 

 
This is a 1975 painting bearing the same elements as the above plus the appearance of the smoke element which Demée could see from his house. It was the smoke of an old train that impacted him aesthetically.
 

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