Born in Munich, Thomas Demand is one of the foremost contemporary German artists. His singular oeuvre merges sculpture and photography. The artist, who lives in Berlin and Los Angeles, reconstructs found photographs as three-dimensional, usually life-size models made of paper and cardboard before expertly lighting and photographing them with a large-format camera. The models are destroyed once the work process is complete. The result is an uncanny, hybrid image, both a document of the artist’s process and a reconstruction of a pre-existing reality.
Demand sees himself as a sculptor. His feel for the essence of things, virtuosic mastery of the material and insight into the dramaturgical and atmospheric effects of light often make his works appear deceptively realistic at first glance. And yet the longer you look, the more the illusion is dispelled, a process heightened by the absence of any human presence and a characteristic lack of such representational details as brand names, lettering or surface textures. Instead, closer inspection reveals traces of pencil marks, remnants of adhesive tape, and creases in the paper, exposing these photographs as pictures of paper reconstructions.