Publisher: Berlin: Thomas Demand, 2012
Edition: 1st Edition
Item #: 110126
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A framed original, pigment print, "Detail XII, 2012," signed, numbered and dated in black marker on recto by Demand. Framed by the gallery. Printed on on Canson Baryta Photographique Paper (paper size 61 x 51 cm; image size 52.7 x 47.0 cm; frame size 61.9 x 51.9 x 2.5 cm). This work is from a numbered edition of 36 (this being #27/36) issued on the occasion of the major retrospective exhibition "Thomas Demand" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, 2012.
Mounted to aluminum and framed in a custom-made acrylic enclosure made according to the specifications of the artist.
[Auction Reference: Phillips de Pury & Company, "Saturday @ Phillips" (Sale Number NY000208, October 25, 2008): Price realized for Lot 50. $5000 (including buyer's premium).]
New (the print and frame are flawless).
Thomas Demand is one of the most important and relevant contemporary artists working today. Demand's starting point is usually an image culled from the mass media, off the Internet, or a low-resolution image discovered in a newspaper or other source during his research. Oftentimes, the picture has become iconic or representative in some way of an important historical, political or cultural event. He then painstakingly creates by hand, over the course of weeks or even months, a full-size (1:1) sculptural model from colored paper and cardboard. The paper model, in which he deliberately excludes certain specific details, and emphasizes various elements and graphic forms important to the original source image, is then photographed by Demand. This photograph is the final work of art and the paper-model is then destroyed and recycled ("Grotte / Grotto, 2006" is the only existing original paper sculpture).
Demand's large-scale photographs deal with our relationship to media in general, and photography in particular. The confluence of memory, individual interpretations and readings, collective meanings associated with significant events, are all examined. His process -- from source material and research, to the meticulous sculptural interpretation, to the final photographic work -- adds to his multi-layered examination of visual representation, as well as the problematic "indexical" nature of photography.
If one strips away specificity, if the details that allow us to "read" a photograph are reduced to generic bits of unremarkable paper, is the result a denial of what photography intends? If the photograph exists to let us know who we are in space, allows us to decode the details, the light, the "specifics," then Demand turns our perceptions into chaos. In his work, Demand uses sites of historical significance -- visual sites -- and recreates them in painstaking full-size scale models using cardboard and paper. The authenticity of the historical event is suggested, through titles, yet the images are stark and lifeless as enormous vacuums of energy and perception. They are intentionally blank and soul-less, so as to capture the inadequacy of photography's ability to really "capture" historical events.
Based on a model of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Demand's still life photograph belies the tragic failure and panicked efforts to avert disaster at the plant after the 2011 Japan tsunami.