(German, born 1964)
1996. Chromogenic color print, 67 3/4 x 7' 7 3/8" (172 x 232 cm)
Thomas Demand makes full-scale paper and cardboard recreations of seemingly mundane scenarios, and then photographs them. The scenes, typically devoid of human presence, appear banal but often reference an event of historical or sociopolitical significance.
Room (Zimmer) is based on an unauthorized photograph of the New York City hotel room where L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, lived in during the early 1970s. In this small and unkempt room, Hubbard wrote Dianetics, the book that was the basis for the controversial religion of Scientology.
At first, Demand’s models seem an accurate depiction of each location, but closer examination reveals a lack of details in the paper fabrications. This tension in Demand’s photographs raises questions about whether photography is a tool for capturing reality or whether photographs capture an interpretation of reality based on prior knowledge or experience. “It’s not about the real place,” Demand has said. “It’s much more about what we have seen as the real place.”1
The state of being stretched or strained; in construction, the level of tautness when a load is applied to a structure.
The ratio between the size of an object and its model or representation, as in the scale of a map to the actual geography it represents.
A detailed three-dimensional representation, usually built to scale, of another, often larger, object. In architecture, a three-dimensional representation of a concept or design for a building.