Thomas Demand: Animations


Thomas Demand: Animations is the artist’s first project to focus solely on his film or video works. Well known for his large-scale color photographs—which he creates by merging sculpture, architecture, and photography or film—Demand constructs life-size paper assemblages of architectural spaces where noteworthy events have taken place or sites that are familiar to the public through the popular media, such as newspapers or the internet. Demand photographs or films the constructions, which then become the final art objects. Through this hybrid process, he pushes the boundaries and functions of photography and the moving image. Effectively mining the space between reality and fiction, his images appear simultaneously real and strangely artificial. The viewer is familiar with them, but at the same time something seems incongruous. Demand wants the viewer to be aware that he has constructed this reality, while creating a space for a story to exist and where, in turn, the viewer must create meaning.

This exhibition includes three major videos, all originating in paper constructions, displayed in the Art Center’s I. M. Pei building. Camera, 2007, presents a surveillance camera as it pans a public space, complete with ambient sound, projected where such a camera might be placed within our Pei galleries. Rain, 2008, is a mesmerizing depiction of the sights and sounds of raindrops hitting a hard surface during a downpour. Pacific Sun, 2012, Demand’s latest work, is a tour de force. He bases this video on YouTube footage taken in the bar of the cruise ship, Pacific Sun, during a violent storm off the coast of New Zealand in 2008. Using stop-motion animation, the two-minute video depicts chairs and tables, along with a bowl of lemons and the bar’s cash register, violently shifting from side to side as the ship rocks in the waves.

The Art Center produced a major catalog with essays by Michael Fried, J.R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University, and art critic Bruce Sterling to accompany this exhibition, organized by Director Jeff Fleming. Funding for Thomas Demand: Animations was provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Above: Thomas Demand (German, born 1964)
Pacific Sun, 2012
Video, 120 sec, stereo (Production Stills)


Related Programs

Opening reception

Guided Tours

entirely unexpected