Thomas Demand, Beyer #34, 2011, Pigment Print, 41.9” x 63.0”, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/ARS, New York, Courtesy Esther Schipper, Berlin/Matthew Marks Gallery, New York/Sprüth Magers Berlin London.
Models are generally understood as filtered interpretations of the environment, without the distraction of a multitude of various stimulations. In architecture they lean toward the utopian, showing how much better things could be: neither details nor decay can obfuscate the splendor of the new development on display. My own association with models has often taken advantage of the untouched and timeless quality they can offer. Parallel to those efforts, the materiality and transitory potential of paper and cardboard as such—materials we are all rather familiar with, in terms of makeshift projects and provisional usefulness—have not only moved from the margins of my studio to the center of my attention, but have also prompted a different approach. Looking at the details and the little pockets, edges, and coincidental collocations of the objects in front of me allowed me to emphasize their sculptural potential in an abstracted composition, instead of reading them as identifiable renderings of buildings. Taking this detour, this may well be my most photographic work to date, looking closely at someone else's models and process in a workshop which could be my own—but isn't. –Thomas Demand
Thomas Demand makes work consisting of photographs, films, and related artist books based on sculptures created from paper and cardboard; the sculptures themselves are representations of source images culled largely from mainstream media. In addition to addressing photo-sculptural media-specific concerns, Demand's work considers and engages the fields of design, architecture, music, politics, and contemporary culture in general. In cultivating a form of neutrality, exemplified in Demand's titling and the non-presence of animate objects in his lexicon, he opens a space in which collective memory, both recent and receding, is activated. Demand has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and he has represented Germany at the Venice Biennale and the Bienal de Sao Paulo. Demand lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles.