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1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501


Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand bases his works on actual places, though his photographs are re-creations of settings made almost exclusively from paper and cardboard. Upon close scrutiny, it becomes apparent that details are missing, elements are approximated, and everything has a hint of peculiarity. Demand doles out information in small portions, and he provides few clues or referents that allow simple readings of his prosaic images. Demand’s photographs refer to absent protagonists, the now-empty and rather ordinary settings they once inhabited, and the often tangled events that occurred within these places. These photographs are pictures of absence—intricate mysteries that pose questions about things that are not apparent in the work.

Although Demand thwarts the tradition of photography as a faithful recorder of people, places, and events, he is interested in uncovering the neutralizing effect the media has on our culture and exploring how news is subject to a host of biases, distortions, and interpretations that affect how we receive information and deduce meaning about events. Demand carefully creates and stages the settings for his photographs, and uses the same basic materials for all of his models, thereby giving his images a presumed uniformity and objectivity. For example, the work Poll (2001) is based on the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center where the 2000 presidential race recounts were staged. However, Poll is not meant to be a photograph of the Florida recount, but rather a picture about the events surrounding the recount, and how media images can fail at relaying a complete story about an incident.

The exhibition contains 13 large-scale photographs and one 35mm film by the artist.

The exhibition is organized by the Aspen Art Museum, where major funding was provided by the AAM National Council and Sotheby’s. Additional support was provided by Charles and Peggy Balbach, Elizabeth L. Barbatelli, Frannie Dittmer in memory of Randy Beier, Dick and Sylvia Kaufman, Nancy and Dr. Robert C. Magoon, Dennis and Debra Scholl, Paul and June Schorr, Paul and Gayle Stoffel, and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, e.V., Stuttgart. The exhibition’s travel schedule is as follows: ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas (September 6-November 25, 2001); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (December 14, 2001-January 27, 2002); SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico (February 16, 2002-June 2, 2002); De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (September 15-November 11, 2002).

Thomas Demand has had one-person exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, London, England; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; Kunsthalle, Zürich, Switzerland; and Fondation Cartier, Paris, France. Although his work has been shown in group exhibitions in this country at museums that include The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, this will be Demand’s first major one-person museum exhibition in the United States.

Artist Bios

Thomas Demand

Born in Munich in 1964, Thomas Demand lives and works in Berlin. Demand studied art the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and received an MFA from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1994. The artist is best known for photographs and films based on commonplace scenes often pulled from the mass media. Demand meticulously restages each scene in three dimensions using paper, cardboard, and cellophane. The result is recorded on camera, presenting an illusion of reality.VIEW ARTIST