Photographs can seem convincingly real or strangely artificial. The work of German photographer Thomas Demand achieves a disquieting balance between the two. Born in 1964, Demand began as a sculptor and took up photography to record his ephemeral paper constructions. In 1993 he turned the tables, henceforth making constructions for the sole purpose of photographing them. Demand begins with a preexisting image culled from the media, usually of a political event, which he translates into a life-size model made of colored paper and cardboard. His handcrafted facsimiles of architectural spaces and natural environments are built in the image of other images. Thus, his photographs are triply removed from the scenes or objects they purport to depict. Once they have been photographed, the models are destroyed. Demand recently began to make 35mm films, setting his cinematic still images in motion. Combining craftsmanship and conceptualism in equal parts, Demand pushes the medium of photography toward uncharted frontiers. His originality has won him recognition as one of the most innovative artists of his generation. This exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue presenting all of Demand’s major works from 1993 to the present.
Organized by Roxana Marcoci, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography.