Thomas Demand: Animations
November 2 — December 16, 2012
I. M. Pei building and Levitt Auditorium
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.