Thomas Demand Model Studies
Nottingham, United Kingdom
On view: January 28, 2012 - April 15, 2012
German artist Thomas Demand is best known for his large scale photographs that question the medium as a faithful record of reality.
This exhibition is a result of a residency at the Getty Research
Institute in Los Angeles where he discovered the archive of the
celebrated architect John Lautner (1911-1994). Lautner's glamorous
and curvaceous homes have been featured in many films, including
the 1971 Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.
This exhibition is based on 12 architectural models he discovered in the Lautner archive, a humble counterpoint to Lautner's heroic, spectacular architecture. This is the first time that Demand has photographed models that are not his own.
These models are all a little run-down and certainly not fabricated to impress or convince a client, even if they played that role at times, too. In other words, they are working tools, and as one soon finds out when studying Lautner's work, drawing wasn't one of his many talents. So I like to imagine that this man - with a notoriously powerful handshake and no fear of large gestures in concrete - would have inspired himself with these modest cardboard objects, which have since weathered over time and have now become the concern of conservatorial efforts of the Getty./Thomas Demand
Depicting the models from many angles, he establishes an
intimate relationship with them that is independent of the
buildings they refer to. Demand's studies of Lautner's models
ultimately have more to do with painting and sculpture than
These beautiful photographs recall Modernist painting and sculpture, including Picasso's Cubist reliefs, as well as mid-20th century abstract painting. Their meditative relationship to recent art history also distinguishes these photographs from much of Demand's work to date.
Demand has a keen interest in architecture, because it deals
with utopias and ideas of a better future, he has said. His own art
involves making painstaking paper models of architectural interiors
and other built environments and then photographing them. Despite
the absence of people his often deceptively ordinary scenes are
loaded with significance. He has made models of the Oval Office of
the US President, the tunnel in Paris where Princess Diana had her
fatal accident, and a Florida counting station, scene of the
contested vote in 2000 that elected George W. Bush.
Born in 1964 in Munich Thomas Demand is one of Germany's most prominent artists. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Serpentine Gallery in London and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, as well as representing Germany at the Venice Biennale of 2003. He has often collaborated with Caruso St John, architects of Nottingham Contemporary, on the designs of his exhibitions. He has called the galleries "really perfect."
Thomas Demand recently talked about his work with filmmaker Alex McDowell at art catalogues/LACMA.
Last updated: December 10, 2012
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