Thomas Demand

About Artist: Thomas Demand, in full Thomas Cyrill Demand, (born 1964[1]) is a German sculptor and photographer. He currently lives and works in Berlin[1] and Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg. Thomas Demand is known for making photographs of three-dimensional models that look like real images of rooms and other spaces,[2] often sites loaded with social and political meanings.[3] He thus describes himself not as a photographer, but as a conceptual artist for whom photography is an intrinsic part of his creative process.[4] Having studied sculpture under Fritz Schwegler at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf alongside Katharina Fritsch and Thomas Schütte, Demand began his career as a sculptor.[5] In 1993, he began to use photography to record his elaborate, life-sized paper-and-cardboard constructions of actually or formerly existing environments and interior spaces, and soon started to create constructions for the sole purpose of photographing them. The photograph he takes of this model with a large-format-camera is the final stage of his work, and it is only this image, most often executed in an edition, of six that is exhibited unframed behind Plexiglas, not the models. On the contrary, Demand destroys his “life-size environments”[6] after he has photographed them. One notable exception is his large scale model for Grotto (2006), inspired by a postcard of a Mallorcan grotto Demand has never visited, which was later exhibited.[7] The life sized models are highly detailed, yet they retain subtle but deliberate flaws and anachronisms, such as an unnaturally uniform texture; according to art critic Michael Kimmelman, "the reconstructions were meant to be close to, but never perfectly, realistic so that the gap between truth and fiction would always subtly show".[8] In The Dailies (2012), Demand for the first time experimented with the long-outmoded process of dye transfer, which involves fixing dyes with gelatine to ordinary paper. The practice was chosen by the artist for the saturated, but not garish colours, the spatial depth, the intense darkness, the durability and the extent to which the three primary colours can be modified, unlike ordinary prints. While the works' titles – Studio (1997), Zimmer (Room) (1996), Treppenhaus (Staircase) (1995) – are studiously devoid of superfluous information, the subjects represented in Demand’s photographs often relate to pre-existing press images showing scenes of cultural or political relevance.[9] The New York hotel room in which L. Ron Hubbard worked on Dianetics, for example, was the starting point for Zimmer (Room) (1996).[10] Zeichensaal (Drafting Room) (1996) is inspired by a photograph of the studio of Richard Vorhölzer, the architect who was in charge of much urban planning for postwar Germany; Scheune (Barn) (1997) is based on a Hans Namuth photograph of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in Pollock's East Hampton studio.;[11] Studio (1997) derives from a photograph of the 1970s television set for the German "What's My Line?". Later in his career Demand turned his interest towards the political world: Podium (2000) represents the location where Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević gave his Gazimestan speech on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Serbian defeat by the Turks;[12] in Attempt (2005), Demand has reconstructed the studio of an artist whom Baader-Meinhof terrorists targeted in the 1970s in order to blow up the Karlsruhe house of the state's prosecutor next door;[13] Kitchen (2004) is based on soldiers' snapshots of the compound near Tikrit where Saddam Hussein was captured.[14] Demand's series Yellowcake (2007) portrays the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, the site of a burglary in January 2001 that was used to prove Hussein’s attempt to purchase uranium.[15] More recently, the photograph Kontrollraum (Control Room) (2011), for instance, purports to show the interior of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during its tsunami-induced meltdown

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Weng Contemporary

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