Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Demand Grotto

11
Mar
13

Exhibition: ‘Thomas Demand’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th November 2012 – 17th March 2013

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Copyshop' 1999

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Copyshop
1999
C-Print / Perspex
183.5 × 300cm
Collection of John Kaldor, Sydney
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

Sitting here in my non-air-conditioned flat trying to survive Melbourne’s autumn heatwave is no fun; my mind has turned to mush. So instead of trying to write an in depth review of this exhibition I shall just make some salient comments, for fear my sweat would literally buckle Demand’s meticulously constructed paper models before he could photograph them.

Demand is firstly a sculpture, constructing studio-sized models of photographs that reference “source material in the archive that already has some fateful resonance,” (Robert Nelson, The Age, 12th December 2012) such as the control room of the Fukushima nuclear reactor, the Geneva hotel bath tub where the German politician Uwe Barschel found a brutal death – personally my mind went to David E. Scherman’s photograph of Lee Miller in Hitler’s bathtub (see below); scenes of nature such as Clearing (2003, below) or Grotto (2006, below) that are hyperreal simulacra of natural phenomena; and modular environments and objects, such as Copyshop (1999), Space Simulator (2003) and Bullion (2003, all below) that strip away the relational intimacy between man and environment by the removal of all labelling and tactility of surface. Demand then photographs his denuded “models” before destroying them, the photograph then becoming the soul evidence of their intrinsic existence (much like the documentary evidence of photographs of Land Art). Demand’s visualisation of the environment is triple coded (photograph, model, photograph), a hybrid tri-articulation that produces new identities that release energies of multiplicity, irony and destabilisation.

Robert Nelson observes in The Age that Demand’s world is paper thin and because the eye detects the forgery, “the famous icon of unthinkable fortune [Bullion] – which might have played a part in some famous heist or the security of a national economy – is also a lie, a tinsel falsehood of no substance… All of Demand’s pictures have an empty or hollow character, which defies the earnest weight of their associations.” Dan Rule insightfully notes that, “By removing the image’s reference or index, only to so painstakingly recast it, he [Demand] begs us to look and look again. These resolutely “unreal” images demand that we consider reality with much greater care.” (Dan Rule, The Age, 19th January 2013). Christopher Allen in The Weekend Australian (2nd March, 2013) states that Demand’s huge final prints, hidden under a layer of Perspex, “adds another level of truth and illusion that preoccupies Demand as it must any serious photographer today. In this case, the photographs can claim to be, for what this is worth, absolutely and literally true in their recording of their subject; it is only the subject itself that is entirely illusory and fabricated.”

Interesting comments all. Demand’s recasting of the relationship between image and referent (image and the object being photographed) is critical to his practice, but I am unsure that all photographers have to be preoccupied with the relationship between truth and illusion as Allen states. As my recent review of the exhibition Confounding: Contemporary Photography noted not all photographs have to confound the relationship between truth and illusion in order to be art. “Collectively, it is the ideas contained within the images in this exhibition that unsettle the relationship between the photograph and the world in the mind of the viewer, not their confounding.” As in the Jeff Wall Photographs exhibition, there is not much emotion in any of these images and perhaps this is an outcome of the long pre-photographic production process.

Demand’s recordings, re-orderings of a constructed reality are fabrications of the highest calibre, amazing to witness at first hand (is that really a model, how does he do that with paper and lighting?!), and yet one is left with a feeling that the work needed something more to go beyond this illusion, some layering that takes the viewer beyond the surface of the image, beyond the understanding of image / model / reality. I look at the photographs, I understand the skill, the imbrication of the process – I think that is the word I want, meaning the covering with a design in which one element covers a part of another – the looking again at a fabricated (our!) reality but the photographs still leave me a little cold of heart, of empty and hollow character. Perhaps that is the point, however it doesn’t make me want to look at the photographs over weeks, months and years and let them reveal themselves to me. Like the paper on which they are printed they are a little paper thin.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Kontrollraum / Control Room
2011
C-Print / Perspex
200 × 300cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Labor / Laboratory' 2000

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Labor / Laboratory
2000
C-Print / Perspex
180 × 268cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Space Simulator
2003
C-Print / Perspex
300 × 429.4cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Regen / Rain' (still) 2008

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Regen / Rain (still)
2008
35 mm colour film, sound, 4 min, looped
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Lichtung / Clearing' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Lichtung / Clearing
2003
C-Print / Perspex
192 × 495cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Grotte / Grotto' (detail) 2006

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Grotte / Grotto (detail)
2006
C-Print / Perspex
Photograph: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Bullion' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Bullion
2003
C-Print / Perspex
42 × 60cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

David E. Scherman. 'Lee Miller in Hitler's bath, Hitler's apartment, Munich, Germany 1945' 1945

 

David E. Scherman (American, 1916-1997)
Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath, Hitler’s apartment, Munich, Germany 1945
1945
From Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke
© Lee Miller Archives

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Badezimmer / Bathroom
1997
C-Print / Perspex
160 × 122cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Tribute' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Tribute
2011
C-Print / Perspex
166 × 125cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours
Daily 10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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29
Nov
12

Exhibition: ‘Thomas Demand’ at the National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th November 2012 – 17th March 2013

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Lichtung / Clearing' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Lichtung / Clearing 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

You saw it here first on Art Blart!

Beautiful installation shots of the new Thomas Demand exhibition at NGVI. Jeff Wall installation photographs to follow in the next posting on Saturday. Reviews to follow in due course.

These are all cardboard models created in Thomas Demand’s studio and then photographed. The models are destroyed afterwards leaving the photographs as artefacts and remembrances, both a performance in their own right, but also a record of another performance, that of the creation of the models. Double self, double performativity, double ritual.

Many thankx to Jemma Altmeier and all the media team at NGV for all their wonderful help and congratulations to the curators, Susan van Wyk and Dr Isobel Crombie, for their restrained yet contemporary installations and for getting the exhibitions to Melbourne. They look magnificent. Well done!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the NGV for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All photographs © Marcus Bunyan © National Gallery of Victoria. May not be reproduced without permission.

 

Thomas Demand is regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists whose work in photography and, most recently stop-animation films, is at the forefront of contemporary art. Demand initially worked as a sculptor who used photography to document his ephemeral creations. From 1993 his creative practice changed and, from then on, he made sculptures for the sole purpose of photographing them. Demand begins with an image, often taken from media sources and frequently dealing with traumatic or politically important events, and creates a life-size replica of the image using paper and cardboard. The effect of these uncanny reconstructions is to destabilise our understanding of the sites which we ‘know’ so well through reproduction. This exhibition features a selection of photographs and 35mm films as chosen by the artist.

 

 

 

Jeff Wall & Thomas Demand: In Conversation, National Gallery of Victoria

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Lichtung' / 'Clearing' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Lichtung / Clearing
2003
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997 and, at right, 'Labor / Laboratory' 2000

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Badezimmer / Bathroom 1997 and, at right, Labor / Laboratory 2000
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Laboratory (77-E-217)' 2000

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Labor / Laboratory
2000
C-Print / Perspex
180.0 × 268.0cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand. Badezimmer / Bathroom 1997 at NGVI
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Badezimmer / Bathroom
1997
C-Print / Perspex
160.0 × 122.0cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Copyshop' 1999

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Copyshop 1999
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Copyshop' 1999

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Copyshop
2009
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Parlament / Parliament' 2009

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Parlament / Parliament 2009
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Parlament / Parliament' 2009

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Parlament / Parliament
2009
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

When you step through the door into the Thomas Demand exhibition you enter a realm that was conceived, meticulously planned, and built to his exacting specifications. Demand designed every aspect of this exhibition. Having selected the photographs and films that he wanted to show in Melbourne, he then went on to design the exhibition space itself.

He was quite specific that the secondary walls had to be full height to create a sense of beautiful rooms rather than a space that has been partitioned. Once this was done he began work on the layout of the show. He carefully planned the sequence in which you would encounter each work, setting up an interesting play between the works. How we read these is an entirely individual experience. Recently someone said to me that they thought the placement of Lichtung / Clearing next to Paneel / Pegboard was an interesting comment on forest clearing and the devastating impact that pulp mills can have on the environment. Until then I had never seen those works in that way.

In conversation during the installation, Thomas explained that he was not interested in putting together an exhibition that then toured around the world. The usual practice of curating an exhibition and then ‘fitting’ it into different exhibition spaces in a number of venues holds little interest for him. So each time you see a Thomas Demand exhibition it has been curated, designed and installed for that particular space.

This is perhaps most obvious when you enter the rooms where the films are showing. From the brightly lit first room you can see through the door way into a darkened room lined with floor to ceiling curtains, but not really. What you see is a darkened room hung with wallpaper that the artist made to look like the kind of sweeping curtains that you might find in a cinema or theatre. It’s theatrical and spectacular but once you enter this space the real treat is Demands films.

Susan van Wyk, 6 February 2013 on the NGV website [Online] Cited 05/09/2020

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Tribute' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Tribute
2011
C-Print / Perspex
166 x 125cm, edition of 6
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Space Simulator 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006 and, at right, 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Grotte / Grotto 2006 and, at right, Space Simulator 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Space Simulator
2003
C-Print / Perspex
300 × 429.4cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Grotte / Grotto 2006
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006 (detail)

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Grotte / Grotto (detail)
2006
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

One of the world’s most influential contemporary artists, Thomas Demand, will be the subject of a new exhibition announced by the National Gallery of Victoria.

The exhibition will be the first major Australian survey of the artist’s work and will comprise large scale photographs and films never before shown in Australia.

NGV Director, Tony Ellwood said the addition of Thomas Demand to the NGV’s exhibition schedule is part of an exciting and ambitious summer program.

“When the opportunity came up to hold an exhibition of Thomas Demand’s work this summer, it was just too good to miss. Thomas Demand will be part of a great summer program at the NGV and has been timed to coincide with the Jeff Wall Photographs exhibition being held at NGV Australia.

“We are offering a two-for-one ticket for Thomas Demand and Jeff Wall Photographs, so visitors to the NGV can experience the work of two major artists of international contemporary photography for one ticket price,” said Mr Ellwood.

Works in the exhibition will span the artist’s career from 1997 to 2012. Recent works presented in the exhibition include Control Room (pictured below), which depicts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and Tribute, a work based on images taken at the site of tragic mass panic at Europe’s biggest rave party.

Susan van Wyk, NGV Curator of Photography said Thomas Demand is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.

“Thomas has a unique style in which he creates paper models of objects and scenes, often taken from media sources like flickr or newspaper reports. These intricate life size models are then photographed.

“The results are disquieting images that subvert our understanding of reality and fiction and draws attention to how we engage with the media and modern technologies,” said Ms Van Wyk.

Press release from the NGV website

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Vault' 2012 and, at centre, 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Vault 2012 and, at centre, Kontrollraum / Control Room 2011
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Kontrollraum / Control Room
2011
C-Print / Perspex
200 × 300cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Vault' 2012

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Vault 2012
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Vault' 2012 (detail)

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Vault (detail)
2012
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours:
Open daily 10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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