Is architecture the subject in Demand’s work? Or is it rather a system within his practice, a mechanism for shaping space?
Demand says: “The application of the model is everywhere. What a model does is reducing the complexity of reality to some key elements that are important. For me, models are a wonderful way to reconstruct our impression of the world. In other words, memory”.
The German artist Thomas Demand has been known for years for his photographs of paper and colored cardboard models he built himself – he has a background as a sculptor – that reproduce real places or images taken from the media.
That of the author is a ritual: the passage from the sensitive world to the memory, from the hand to the material and finally from the model to the image bends reality creating a simulacrum that is not objective; in the end, the cardboard model is destroyed, leaving only the limited series photography surviving.
The catalog published by MACK, in addition to documenting the numerous works on display at the M Leven Museum in Belgium until April 2021, offers a series of writings, including the conversation between Demand, Hal Foster and David Chipperfeld, an essay by Maristella Casciato and Emily Pugh on the meanings of the architectural model and the script of a film by Scottish artist Martin Boyce.
These heterogeneous contributions bring out the reciprocal debts, the limits and the potential of each discipline, while highlighting the common ground in the concept of the model.