Germany’s first comprehensive solo exhibition of the work of much celebrated German artist Thomas Demand opened at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2009. Entitled Nationalgalerie it focused on a singular aspect of Demand’s work; the photography of German events since 1945.
The exhibition’s specially constructed installation incorporated almost 5km of Tonica textile by Kvadrat. This covered a hidden support structure, which gave the effect of the artist’s work floating on the walls.
Thomas Demand (born in Germany, 1964) is one of the most internationally renowned artists of his generation. He is acclaimed for his large-scale photographs, which explore the gap between reality and its representation.
Drawing on pre-existing images, he recreates life-size scenes, which he meticulously sculpts from paper and cardboard. He then photographs these models with a large format camera at “their peak of perfectness”. Afterwards, he destroys them, which he says, “… feels like some kind of liberation.”
The content of his compositions covers a broad spectrum from the political to the private. His artwork features iconic images such as the Oval Office, as well as everyday objects like airport-scanning devices and post-it notes. His artwork is often based on images from the mass media and documents our various media worlds – photography is merely the medium he uses to preserve and exhibit his compositions. As he puts it, “For me, it’s about what happens in front of and behind the camera that requires my attention more than the camera itself.”
Demand’s reconstructive handling of images investigates to what extent the appearance of society is condensed into key images, and asks how this affects people’s perception of the world they live in. His treatment of scenes that appear to carry significance examines the conscious and self-conscious portrayal of society and its changes.
Ultimately, the Berlin-based artist produces explores the boundaries between fiction and reality as he invites us to consider the way we understand the world.
Thomas Demand is one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation. His artwork has featured in major exhibitions across the world. His solo exhibitions include shows at Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2009), MUMOK, Vienna (2009), Sprüth Magers Gallery, London (2008), the Fondazione Prada, Venice (2007), the Serpentine Gallery, London (2006), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005), a retrospective at the Kunsthaus Bregenz (2004), and he represented Germany at the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale (2004).
Other recent solo shows include the Lenbachhaus, Munich, the Castelo de Rivoli, Turin, and the Dundee Contemporary Arts and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. His work is represented in numerous museums and collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Tate Modern, London and Tate Gallery, London and the New National Gallery, Berlin.