Hobson’s Choice: Thomas Demand at Spruth Magers

23 April 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Thoma Demand at Spruth Magers

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

Thomas Demand at Sprüth Magers London

14 April – 19 May 2012

7A Grafton Street, London W1S 4EJ

Open Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm


Acclaimed German artist Thomas Demand is best known for his photographs of meticulously recreated places, public and private spaces and other locations loaded with social and political meaning.  Trained originally as a sculptor, in the early 1990’s Demand began to use photography to record his elaborate and ephemeral, life-sized paper and cardboard constructions of existing or formerly existing environments and interior spaces, and soon started to create constructions for the sole purpose of photographing them.  Describing himself not as a photographer but as a conceptual artist for whom photography is an intrinsic part of his creative process, Demand’s work challenges photography’s claims to verisimilitude and disrupts notions of authenticity and artifice by questioning the medium as a faithful record of reality.  This recent body of work, just opened at Sprüth Magers in Mayfair, was begun in 2008 and is titled ‘The Dailies’, making reference to the daily rushes from film and the leftover images from the cutting room floor.  Demand began the series by using the camera on his phone to take images of everyday objects and situations which captured his attention, which he then translated into paper sculptures.  A washing line with clothes pegs against a pale blue sky, a brightly patterned stool, two paper-cups wedged into a wire fence, an office grill with a ball of paper secreted into it – banal, easily overlooked moments in office and urban environments – Demand’s reconstructions are deliberately close to, but purposely not, perfectly realistic in order to allow the gap between truth and trickery to show in subtle and arresting ways.  Photographs can been strangely convincing or oddly artificial; Thomas Demand achieves a disquieting balance between the two.

Image: Daily #17, 2011, Framed Dye Transfer Print, 58,5 x 82,3 cm

© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / DACS, London

Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery New York, Esther Schipper Gallery Berlin and Sprüth Magers Berlin London

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