Italian artist Peter Demetz brings ordinary wood to life with his incredible, hand-carved figures.

The sculptures, which vary in size from about 20 inches to nearly 50 inches tall, feature men, women, and children standing still against a plain, sometimes-colored background. Demetz’s attention to detail is awe-inspiring. He’s able to shape tiny folds in clothing, reproduce loose strands of hair, and define the human anatomy so well that you’d think these figures really exist.

In addition to the stunning meticulousness of his craft, Demetz’s sculptures are also conceptually intriguing. The figures’ backs are often turned away from us as they stare at the ground. It’s here that we’ve caught them in contemplative, in-between moments, like before you begin to speak or just as you’re about to enter a room. As a result, Demetz’s works feel poignant. They aren’t necessarily sad, but their body language evokes a sense of longing, loss, or a fleeting period in time.