•Thomas Demand, Labor / Laboratory, 2000, C-Print/ Diasec, 180 x 268 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam.

Demand's Nationalgalerie Exhibition Traces Recent German History

Thomas Demand, Fenster / Window, 1998, C-Print/ Diasec, 183,5 x 286 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam.

Thomas Demand, Terrasse / Terrace, 1998, C-Print/ Diasec, 183,5 x 268 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam.

Thomas Demand, Haltestelle, 2009, C-Print/ Diasec, 240 x 330 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam.

 

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museumpark 18-20
+ 31 (0)10 44.19.400
Rotterdam
Thomas Demand. Nationalgalerie
May 29-August 22, 2010

Nationalgalerie takes Germany as its theme and is being shown outside the country for the first time. Staged in a different historical context, the show will likelyly not be received in the same way in Rotterdam as Berlin.

Nationalgalerie, the first solo exhibition of the work of German artist Thomas Demand (1964) in Berlin, was specially conceived for the Neue Nationalgalerie. The exhibition is a thematic retrospective. The artist has selected pieces from his work that specifically relate to the subject of the Nationalgalerie. In Berlin, the exhibition coincided with two significant celebrations, the founding of the German Federal Republic 60 years ago, and the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. In Rotterdam the exhibition will coincide with the end of the Second World War 65 years ago and the bombing of the city 70 years ago.

Image of Germany The underlying question is how an exhibition like this, specifically geared to Germany, will be received in the Netherlands. Demand’s show in Berlin raised many questions about Germany, German history, German identity and how to deal with one’s own identity. By showcasing images (and sometimes well-known media images) relating to German history in a single presentation, Demand triggers visitors’ subjective relationship with them and with individual identities in general. The exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will not only be a new version of the Berlin show, it will also raise questions about the image the Dutch have of Germany, and indirectly about how Dutch and German attitudes and outlooks differ and about the way the Dutch deal with processing recent history.

A Palette of History In Rotterdam, Demand will be showing some 25 works that reflect his slant on social and public events in German history since 1945. It is an installation that echoes the architecture of the show in the Neue Nationalgalerie, but has a unique sculptural quality as an installation. Demand always starts the process with an image from the media that intrigues him. These are often images that are well-known in Germany, such as Haltestelle, the much-discussed bus shelter where the rock band Tokio Hotel used to meet.

Demand makes life-sized cardboard models of the events in the photographs, which he then photographs with a large camera. This technique gives his works an architectural quality. In the photograph, the monumental bursts through and the image is disconnected from the trivialities and the clutter of the surroundings. Demand’s works create a multi-coloured palette of a defining period in recent German history.

Thomas Demand has exhibited all over the world, with recent solo exhibitions in London, New York and at the Venice Biennale.

Living in Berlin since 1996 Thomas Demand is an artist known for his large-format photographs, which explore the blank domain between reality and the ways it is being represented. He is undoubtedly regarded as one of the most renowned artists of his generation. Using paper and cardboard he builds three-dimensional, usually life-size models of places which often make references to pictures found in the mass media.

Thomas Demand, Nationalgalerie, 2009, Installation view. Photo: David von Becker

Thomas Demand, Heldenorgel, 2009, C-Print/ Diasec, 240 x 380 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam.

 

Thomas Demand, Badezimmer / Bathroom, 1997, C-Print / Diasec, 160 x 122 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

Thomas Demand, Studio, 1997, C-Print / Diasec, 183,5 x 349,5 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009.

Demand's Nationalgalerie: Same Exhibition, but in a Different Nation

Thomas Demand, Büro / Office, 1995, C-Print / Diasec, 183,5 x 240 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009.

Thomas Demand, Treppenhaus / Staircase, 1995, C-Print / Diasec, 150 x 118 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009.

Thomas Demand, Klause IV / Tavern IV, 2006, C-Print / Diasec, 103 x 68 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

 

Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
+ 49-(0)30-266 42 4510
Berlin
Thomas Demand. Nationalgallerie
September 18, 2009-January 17, 2010

Appropriately timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, Thomas Demand's pictures offer a retrospective of Germany's recent history. The artist's works present well-known photographs used extensively by the media in a totally new light. Apart from politically relevant subjects, the exhibition will also include images of everyday life. Whilst working with photography as a medium, Thomas Demand does not see himself as a photographer in the true sense of the word. He lives and works in Berlin and is one of the most internationally renowned and influential artists of our time.

Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin devotes a solo show to one of the most influential artists of our time: Thomas Demand. It is so far the largest presentation of his work in this country. However, the exhibition National Gallery is not designed as an overall retrospective but it is firmly dedicated to only one subject, which is perhaps the most important in Demand's multi-facetted oeuvre: Germany.

About 40 works by the artist are on display in the glass hall of the Neue Nationalgalerie built by Mies van der Rohe. There is hardly a location which is more suitable to convey to the beholder the panorama of a nation's history than the large glass hall of the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is not only regarded as an incunabulum of post-war architecture but also as a symbol for the self-image of the Federal Republic of Germany at the former border between East and West. The exceptional exhibition architecture of the firm, Caruso St. John, London, forms an ideal link between Demand's works and Mies van der Rohe's bright hall.

Each picture in the exhibition is accompanied by a specific caption written by Botho Strauss which does not so much explain or define Demand's work but rather creates a space between the pictures and the texts to allow new versions of interpretation.

Demand’s works are exhibited at entry points to the glass-walled building designed by Mies van der Rohes. An installation has been purpose-built specifically for the exhibition, using luxury drapery and a hidden “support structure” — the artist’s works seem to be floating on the walls and in the newly designed textile rooms. The fabric architecture, which is an integral part of the exhibition, has been created by Thomas Demand in collaboration with the exhibition architects, Adam Caruso and Peter St John (Caruso St John Architects, London).

The Danish company, Kvadrat, Europe’s leading manufacturer of contemporary and innovative textiles, is supporting the exhibition by providing elaborate fabric architecture. Almost five kilometres (4.720 running metres) of the fabric, “Tonica”, made from 10 percent new wool is being used in the exhibition. The fabric is displayed in four colours, two shades of grey, a brown and a bright yellow. One of the grey shades and the bright yellow have been specially developed for the exhibition.

With regard to the event, Thomas Demand says, “The National Gallery building is a challenge — and, at the same time, has such unique textures that it’s a dream to hold an exhibition there. However, the transparency of the building is often misunderstood: being able to see through a room doesn’t always give you the best view of things — so we’ve kept the lucidity of the architecture, but broken up the horizontal view through the room with walls made from draperies. The reason we chose Kvadrat drapery for the textile architecture is mainly because of the vibrancy of the processed new wool in ‘Tonica’. The ‘Tonica’ colouring is also classic
yet modern. The material reminds me of an oversized suit by Joseph Beuys, or of something homely. That’s an interesting contradiction based on the scale of our intervention."

A weekly series of lectures conceived by the artist and entitled How German is it? is running in parallel with the exhibition; it is sponsored by the cultural foundation of the Federal Government. In the series, artists, politicians, scientists, economists and others will talk about an aspect of German culture, society and history, each time taking one of Thomas Demand's works as the starting point.

Thomas Demand was born in 1964 in Munich and studied at the Art Academy in Düsselorf and at Goldsmiths’ College in London. Beside participating in numerous international group shows, from the mid-1990s on his work was also presented in a number of solo shows, for example, at Sprüth Magers London (2008), in the Fondazione Prada, Venice (2007), the Serpentine Gallery, London (2006), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005), and the Kunsthaus Bregenz (2004). In 2004, he represented Germany at the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale.

Living in Berlin since 1996 Thomas Demand is an artist known for his large-format photographs, which explore the blank domain between reality and the ways it is being represented. He is undoubtedly regarded as one of the most renowned artists of his generation. Using paper and cardboard he builds three-dimensional, usually life-size models of places which often make references to pictures found in the mass media. By taking photographs of the scenery created in this way, he produces artefacts of a kind of their own which play with the beholder's ideas of fiction and reality.

Other solo shows were hosted in the Lenbachhaus, Munich, the Castello di Rivoli, Turin, in Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre as well as in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. His works are represented in many museums and collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Tate Modern, London.

Thomas Demand, Haltestelle, 2009, C-Print / Diasec, 240 x 330 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009.

Thomas Demand, Embassy I, 2007, C-Print/ Diasec, 204 x 168 cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2008, Courtesy Esther Schipper.

Underlying Political Realities in Thomas Demand's Oeuvre

Thomas Demand, Camera, 2007, HD-Video, 1,40min, Loop, stereo, © Thomas Demand / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn.

Thomas Demand, Klause V, 2006, C-Print/ Diasec, 197 x 137cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2008, Courtesy Galerie Sprüth Magers.

 

Hamburger Kunsthalle
Stiftung öffentlichen Rechts
Glockengießerwall
Hamburg
+ 49 (0) 40 428 131 200

Galerie der Gegenwart
Thomas Demand. Camera
April 4-July 6, 2008

Thomas Demand is one of the most internationally renowned artists of his generation.

His work was only recently featured in a major exhibition at the Fondazione Prada in Venice, and in 2005 the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened its new building with a monographic exhibition of Demand’s photographs.

Thomas Demand. Camera provides penetrating insight into the underlying political dimension of Thomas Demand’s art. In his crystal-clear yet curiously enigmatic images, viewers are confronted with the lies of politics and the depths of normality as well as with modes of surveillance and extortion.

What makes Demand’s photographs so captivating is the suggestive and uncanny presence of their fictional pictorial settings. Real spaces or scenes that have already been disseminated as images in the print media or via television are painstakingly reconstructed by the artist as life-size models in his studio, which he then records as large-format photographs.

The exhibition covers the period 2005-2007 in an installation developed by the artist especially for the Galerie der Gegenwart.

Beginning with the film-loop piece Camera (2007), the exhibition continues with nine photographs from the series Embassy (2007). These pictures show the Embassy of Niger in Rome, the site of a burglary in which stationary paper was stolen that subsequenty has been used for forged contracts, which served US intelligence services as evidence to support the Iraq War. The series of images is based on research the artist has been doing by himself, as no reporter ever has ever had any access to the site. A second focal point of the exhibition is the work Klause from 2006. It comprises five photographs that were created by Demand in response to Max Beckmann’s lithographic cycle Apocalypse (1941/42). Unlike Beckmann, whose work illustrates the Bible text directly, Demand focuses on a corresponding incident from the recent past, a crime that allegedly took place in the south German town of Burbach (Saarland). This crime was never solved, however, nor was the alleged victim ever found. In these photographs it is not the crime itself that concerns Demand, but the subsequent media coverage of the event.

Born in 1964 in Munich, Thomas Demand studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich from 1987-89, at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1989-92 and completed his MA at Goldsmiths’ College, London in 1993-94. Demand lives and works in Berlin.

Exhibitions include Processo Grottesco, Fondazione Prada, Isola San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 2007; L’Esprit de l’Escalier, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2007; Serpentine Gallery, London, 2006; Thomas Demand & Max Beckmann, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2006; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2005; German Pavilion, XXVI Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2004; Phototrophy, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2004, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, 2003.

Curator of the exhibition: Dr. Petra Roettig.

 

Thomas Demand, Klause IV, 2006, C-Print/ Diasec, 103 x 68cm, © Thomas Demand, VG Bild Kunst,, Bonn 2008, Courtesy Esther Schipper.