Photographs by Thomas Demand.
Mack, 2012. 64 pp., 16 color illustrations, 14½x13½".
'Existing in a state of continual motion, from the hotel room to the road, the life of the travelling salesman, the commercial traveller, is experienced as a perpetual passenger, punctuated by both the shifting of place and the marking of time.”
In the mid 1970s, architect Harry Seidler designed a space for the historic Commercial Travellers’ Association in Sydney, Australia. He created a star shaped building, which sprouts from the street like a radiating flower.
For the 25th Kaldor Public Art Project, Thomas Demand’s series The Dailies occupies an entire floor of Seidler’s structure. The sixteen bedrooms, which house The Dailies, extend off a circular corridor creating a labyrinthine effect. Demand’s images sit above the beds in each room, the transient scenes capturing insignificant moments and objects, suspended in time like the environment around them. Each of the sixteen rooms was discreetly altered or updated – a new coat of paint, a different bed cloth, replacement but identical light fittings – refreshing and highlighting the modernist spirit of the building.
Working within the parameters of his now trademark technique, Demand created carefully formed paper and card sculptures, photographed and then destroyed them. His creations are based on things he saw and photographs he took while travelling and walking the street. The transient scenes capture insignificant moments and objects, suspended in time like the environment around them. Demand describes the series as like Haiku poetry, simple fragments strung together to inspire reflection.
The piece is accompanied by text and scent; American author Louis Begley (author of About Schmidt) wrote Gregor in Sydney, a short story, which has been printed in segments on menu cards and they appear in each hotel room. Designer Miuccia Prada formulated a scent for the rooms, a subtle synthesis of green leaves, a parallel to Demand’s own fabrications of nature. The book, a work of art in itself, expands to a 16-pointed star, its concertina pages unfurling to echo the shape of the CTA building.
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