Nemer composes a series of floral arrangements and audio pieces that dialogue with depictions of Saint Sebastian throughout art history. Sebastian’s martyrdom by arrows has captured the imagination of artists since the Middle Ages, and persists as a symbol of homosexual desire and persecution in contemporary visual culture.With references to artworks by Louise Bourgeois, François-Xavier Fabre, Derek Jarman, Yukio Mishima, Kent Monkman, and others, Nemer’s compositions reach out to the enduring erotics and affects Sebastian’s martyrdom inspires; seeking contact not only with the icon itself, but also with the feelings of fascination, identification, and desire of generations of artists.
Sebastians was commissioned by Tarin Dehod for the web project tofeelclose. The project is ongoing, with new arrangements and audio files added each month through October 2020. The first piece, Sebastians No. 1 (above), introduces the project by reflecting on common pictorial elements in depictions of Saint Sebastian across time and space. Sebastians No. 2 (below) focuses on Kishin Shinoyama’s 1968 portrait of the Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Sebastians No.3 (also below) examines a 2003 sketch by Kent Monkman in which Saint Sebastian appears with an erection.
Tarin Dehod also commissioned Nemer’s floral epistolary action À fleurer in 2016. Sebastians served as preliminary research for Your Wound, My Desire, an expanded artistic exploration of the legacy of Saint Sebastian on queer identity and history.