Building Material 19 Art & Architecture excerpts: Interview with Thomas Demand
Excerpt from: Eye to Eye: An interview with Thomas Demand
“I like to imagine the sum of all the media representations of the event as a kind of landscape, and the media industry as the tour bus company that takes us through these colourful surrounds.” Thomas Demand
Subjects gain a new - if brief - life in the media, in a manner similar to that of the life of the mayfly: short and glorious, but soon fading to obsolescence. Thomas Demand is one of a growing number of artists addressing this phenomenon. Demand sifts through the media, selecting images that represent an important moment. His subjects are seemingly banal empty rooms: offices, auditoria, hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and staircases. He meticulously re-constructs the spaces shown using paper, from the vantage point of the original image. He then photographs and destroys it. His photographs offer a cleaner, neater vision of the world, the surfaces are smooth and the edges sharp. At first glance they appear to be straightforward records, but there is a palpable uncanniness inherent in them. His true talent is not as a sculptor or as a photographer, but as a detective: choosing material from newspapers and photo archives, looking for those seemingly neutral spaces in which wars are declared, bombs are designed and murders occur. Through the presentation of his images and work process, Demand encourages us to look more closely and assess the images presented to us, both their construction and their meaning. For Demand, looking at an image is not a purely visual experience, but a structural one.
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Biography: Thomas Demand
Thomas Demand is an artist based in Berlin. He documents our media worlds and is both a reproducer and an illusionist, making photographs of life-scale three dimensional models of rooms and spaces. The subjects depicted in Demand's photographs often bear cultural or political relevance. He was educated at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and Goldsmiths College, London. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Fondation Cartier Paris, the Serpentine Gallery, London, and MOMA New York. He will exhibit at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in September 2009.