Demand's Photgraphy

5 March, 2005

Thomas Demand's reconstruction of a Florida recount station (from NYTimes)

Thomas Demand is a mid-career German artist who re-creates scenes from real-life and from photographs using cut colored construction paper. MoMA is currently putting on a retrospective of his work (NY Times article). Demand's work, the above picture of a Florida vote-counting station, one of an airport security checkpoint and another of a hotel bathroom where a German politician was found dead, reproduces and deepens the chilly distance found in newspaper photos of passion-filled events, removing not only their humanity (there are no human figures in any of Demand's images that I've seen), but their actual physicality as well, rendering them, literally, into objects instead of people or places on which emotional meaning could adhere.

Although Demand's reconstructions are apparently accomplished at full-scale, they have some of the pleasures of miniaturization, of reducing the real with all its detail and incomprehensibility into a schematic which feels both easily understood and an agent of potential further understanding (think of the uses to which models are usually put in architectual planning, et al, as well as the resonance of the word "reconstruction" in the Unsolved Mysteries sense).

More about Demand here, more about the retrospective on MoMA's site, and the MeFi post that lead me there.

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