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About the Artist
Thomas Demand has had one-person exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, London,
England; the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; the Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland and
the Fondation Cartier, Paris, France. Although his work has been exhibited in group
exhibitions in this country, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum; the Walker Art Center; and the 1999-2000 Carnegie International,
this will be Demand's first major one-person museum exhibition in the U.S.
About the Exhibition
Thomas Demand's photographs are pictures of absence?y are intricate mysteries
that pose questions about the things that are not apparent in the work. Demand
doles out information in small portions and he provides few clues or referents that allow
for simple readings of his prosaic images. His non-specific titles?>Barn, Model,
Terrace?vide little help in unraveling the meaning of his work. Yet, each
image refers to a highly specific and psychologically charged location: Corridor
is based on the hallway leading to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment. Like
Corridor, Demand's photographs refer to absent protagonists, the now-empty
(and rather ordinary) settings they once inhabited, and the often times tangled events that
occurred within these places.
Although Demand bases his works on actual places, his photographs are recreations
of these settings made almost exclusively from paper and cardboard. This is not always
immediately apparent, but, upon closer scrutiny, it becomes evident that details are
missing, elements are approximated, and, perhaps above all, everything has a hint of
peculiarity. In Studio, for example, name placards are blank and the beverage
glasses sitting on the table contain color rings that give the illusion of being half full. By
constructing all of his models out of the same basic material, his images have a
uniformity and objectivity to them. Through photography, Demand makes these flimsy
and ephemeral settings permanent.
The places Demand chooses to depict are always of note but never monuments from
history. Normally, the locations seem completely without interest or import: standard
public buildings, common domestic settings, or other arcane locations (bathrooms, dorm
rooms, hallways, offices) that have been made significant solely by the actions of people.
Corner, for example, reveals the simple dorm room where the young Bill Gates
developed a version of the BASIC programming language. Demand's locations and
events exist on the periphery of notoriety. For him, the importance of these images
resides in their subtexts.
Although he thwarts the tradition of photography as a faithful recorder of people,
places, and events, Demand is interested in uncovering the power and neutralizing effect
the media has on our culture. News, like history, is subject to a host of biases, distortions,
and interpretations that affect how we receive information and deduce meaning about
events. The photograph Poll, based on the Palm Beach County Emergency
Operations Center where the 2000 presidential race recounts were staged, illustrates
some of the shortcomings of media images. The most compelling aspect of photograph is
what is not shown: the palpable tension that must have filled the room as lawyers,
proctors, advisors, and the media searched for missing or dimpled chads?
controversy itself. Demand's photograph is not a picture 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.
Poll, like many of Demand's works, has the look of the aftermath of a crime
scene. Other Demand photographs?e Lawn, a nearly abstract detail of
grass?ear like forensic evidence, as there is no other apparent reason for their
intense scrutiny. His carefully constructed props always give the impression of being
"left as they were." Demand's use of media and other reproductive sources remove his
settings from their context, time, and place. Beyond the conceptual underpinnings of his
process and the media-critique his work provides, his photographs are compelling visual
objects. Demand has the rare ability to create images that linger in our continually
Thomas Demand is organized by the Aspen Art Museum and is accompanied
by a fully-illustrated catalogue, with essays by Aspen Art Museum Director/Curator
Dean Sobel and Lars Lerup, Dean of the Rice School of Architecture, Rice University,
Houston, TX. Following its ArtPace debut, the exhibition will travel to the Aspen Art
Museum, CO and SITE Santa Fe, NM. Major funding provided by the AAM National
Council. Additional support provided by Charles and Peggy Balbach, Elizabeth L.
Barbatelli, Frannie Dittmer in memory of Randy Beier, Dick and Sylvia Kaufman,
Robert and Nancy Magoon, Dennis and Debra Scholl, Paul and June Schorr, Paul and
Gayle Stoffel, and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, e.V., Stuttgart.
September 6 ?vember 25, 2001
Thursday, September 6, 2001, 6:30-8:00 PM
Gallery Walk-Thru with the Artist
Thursday, September 6, 2001, 7:00 PM
Brown Bag Lunch
Wednesday, October 24, 2001, 12-1 PM
Join us for a tour of Thomas Demand and a brown bag lunch provided by Pecan
Street Deli. Please call ArtPace for additional information and to make reservations.
All events held at ArtPace, 445 N. Main Avenue. Free parking at N. Flores and Savings
Streets. ArtPace is open to the public Wednesday thru Sunday, 12-5 PM, Thursday 12-8
PM, and by appointment. There is no charge for admission.
ArtPace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art | San Antonio serves as an advocate
for contemporary art and as a catalyst for the creation of significant art projects. We seek
to nurture emerging and established artists and to provide opportunities for inspiration,
experimentation and education. Through our International Artist-in-Residence Program,
we invite nine artists annually to participate in a two-month residency which supports the
evolution of new ideas in art. Our broad range of panels, lectures, artist talks, and studio
visits cultivates diverse audiences for contemporary art and provides a forum for ongoing
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