Photographs by Thomas Demand. Texts by Ralph Rugoff and Julia Franck.
128 pp., 66 illustrations, 12¼x14½".
Out at the same time, these two monographs [Thomas Demand, Museum of Modern Art, DP130 and Phototrophy, Schirmer/Mosel, SM190] commemorate separate Demand retrospectives, one at MoMA in New York and the other at Kunsthaus Bregenz in Europe. His trademark photographs of elaborate paper constructions challenge the photographic medium and the viewers' concept of reality. Demand takes scenes from everyday industrial and business environments, often appropriated from the media, and painstakingly creates a paper and cardboard replica, photographing the results. At first glance, the photographs look quite like the apartment kitchens, photocopiers, and industrial equipment they imitate. Down to the Post-It notes and fluorescent lighting, Demand pinpoints the idea of the contemporary workplace, recreating the drab aesthetics with fetishistic detail. Critics describe the postmodern condition as one concerned with spatial orientation, finding one's way through architectural spaces that look ever the same, such as malls or cubicle-laden offices. Demand's particular zest for stairwells, parking garages, and other anonymous transitory spaces exaggerates this experience in a hyper-real environment. His sparse, unpopulated photographs—stripped down to their utilitarian roots—show how technological progress and global capitalism impact our everyday environments. These two lush, oversized volumes present Demand's photographs and 35mm film stills in-depth. - Denise Wolff
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