exhibition
Thomas Demand, Space Simulator, 2003. Dye coupler print, laminated to plexiglas (Diasec process). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 2004, no. 41424.1-3. © Thomas Demand / SODRAC (2010)
Thomas Demand, Space Simulator, 2003. Dye coupler print, laminated to plexiglas (Diasec process). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 2004, no. 41424.1-3. © Thomas Demand / SODRAC (2010)
Thomas Demand conceives of and builds sculptures for the camera, looking to the composition and colour of painting as he creates his images. The Berlin based artist depicts significant historical moments and sites,sourcing images from the media,history books or family archives. Constructed life-size entirely from paper in his studio, Demand's replicas exist only to be photographed and are subsequently destroyed. Space Simulator was inspired by a black and white photograph of the Apollo Mission Simulator used by astronauts to train for moon landings at the Kennedy Space Center between1968 and 1972. The ambiguous, seemingly illogical mechanical object attracted the artist in it likeness to cubist paintings and sculpture. Close examination of Demand's photograph reveals the visible cuts and seams of his reconstruction, his approximation playing on the NASA training machine's simulation that provided astronauts with a real experience.

Thomas Demand was born in Munich, Germany in 1964 and studied sculpture at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich (1987-1989) and the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1989-1992). He received his MA Fine Arts from Goldsmith‘s College, London in 1994 and is now based in Berlin.

Demand is known for his large-scale photographs which explore the status of the photographic document. He begins his research for each new work by selecting a pre- existing photograph of historical significance from various sources: the media, history books or from his own family archive. Many of his chosen images are of seemingly banal interior spaces, marked by an absence of people. He typically studies the photograph for some time and often attempts to find out who the photographer is and searches for other related images. He then creates, in his studio, a three-dimensional, life-sized model based on the photograph made solely out of cardboard and paper. These sculptural replicas exist only for the camera and are subsequently destroyed. Upon close inspection, Demand’s resultant images reveal clues to their fabrication such as the visible cuts and seams of the model’s construction. The artist invites the viewer to question the photographic image, its authenticity and role in the documenting of history and creation of meaning.

Thomas Demand is a critically-acclaimed artist and has exhibited extensively internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa (2010); the Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2009); Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2009); Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan (2008). His work has been presented in prestigious venues such as the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Sydney Biennale (1998), the Carnegie International 1999/2000, and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005). Thomas Demand’s work is in numerous collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Guggenheim, New York and the Tate Collection, London.