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Photo by Thomas Demand

The photographs of Thomas Demand merge truthful documentation and unsettling artifice - two polarities raised by photography since its inception. For over two decades, Demand has built intricate, life-size, three-dimensional models made wholly out of colored construction paper and cardboard that faithfully replicate specific architectural spaces and natural settings. He photographs the ephemeral structure and destroys it once the image is made. He uses the same sculptural techniques with stop-motion animation in his films.

The spaces conveyed in Demand’s work are facsimiles of preexisting photographs, often circulated by the media, that document historically, culturally, and politically significant or notorious sites. However, devoid of the noted people and dramatic events that occurred in these places, his images seem both a little uncanny and rather banal. He has tackled such subjects as Henri Matisse’s studio floor, the backyard of the Boston Marathon bomber’s home, the Oval Office, the control room of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant days after the 2011 tsunami, the room where the failed assassination of Hitler occurred, and the kitchen of Saddam Hussein’s hideout. His finished photographs are thus thrice removed from the original site they intend to represent, raising questions about the inherently contrived nature of photography, even in the realm of documentation.

The photographs of Thomas Demand merge truthful documentation and unsettling artifice - two polarities raised by photography since its inception. For over two decades, Demand has built intricate, life-size, three-dimensional models made wholly out of colored construction paper and cardboard that faithfully replicate specific architectural spaces and natural settings. He photographs the ephemeral structure and destroys it once the image is made. He uses the same sculptural techniques with stop-motion animation in his films.

The spaces conveyed in Demand’s work are facsimiles of preexisting photographs, often circulated by the media, that document historically, culturally, and politically significant or notorious sites. However, devoid of the noted people and dramatic events that occurred in these places, his images seem both a little uncanny and rather banal. He has tackled such subjects as Henri Matisse’s studio floor, the backyard of the Boston Marathon bomber’s home, the Oval Office, the control room of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant days after the 2011 tsunami, the room where the failed assassination of Hitler occurred, and the kitchen of Saddam Hussein’s hideout. His finished photographs are thus thrice removed from the original site they intend to represent, raising questions about the inherently contrived nature of photography, even in the realm of documentation.

The photographs of Thomas Demand merge truthful documentation and unsettling artifice - two polarities raised by photography since its inception. For over two decades, Demand has built intricate, life-size, three-dimensional models made wholly out of colored construction paper and cardboard that faithfully replicate specific architectural spaces and natural settings. He photographs the ephemeral structure and destroys it once the image is made. He uses the same sculptural techniques with stop-motion animation in his films.

The spaces conveyed in Demand’s work are facsimiles of preexisting photographs, often circulated by the media, that document historically, culturally, and politically significant or notorious sites. However, devoid of the noted people and dramatic events that occurred in these places, his images seem both a little uncanny and rather banal. He has tackled such subjects as Henri Matisse’s studio floor, the backyard of the Boston Marathon bomber’s home, the Oval Office, the control room of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant days after the 2011 tsunami, the room where the failed assassination of Hitler occurred, and the kitchen of Saddam Hussein’s hideout. His finished photographs are thus thrice removed from the original site they intend to represent, raising questions about the inherently contrived nature of photography, even in the realm of documentation.

WHEN

WHERE

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
http://www.themodern.org/exhibition/Upcoming/FOCUS-Thomas-Demand/2004

TICKET INFO

Free with museum admission.
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