Thomas Demand's pictures are more than just photographs. The artist studied sculpture and began his early career, creating constructions and installations. Photography first appeared in his work in the mid-90s as the culmination of his artistic endeavors, which started out with the creation of small, cardboard constructions he then photographed and printed in life-size paper models that created the illusion of actual interior or exterior spaces. Once photographed, the models are destroyed, and the picture is the only remaining documentation of the whole process.
Demand identifies himself as a visual artist, not a photographer, which is certainly the case, given the artistic process described above. Following this course for a number of years, his empty spaces, devoid of human presence, that look real without actually being real, serve as a powerful commentary on what is real and fake, on what is true in photography and what is not, and on whether the contemporary viewer is really interested in such distinctions and contrasts. Modern viewers are anyhow indifferent to such questions, since all aspects and images of the human experience are nowadays mediated.
Beyond their aesthetic or philosophical dimension, Demand's photographs often entail a suggestive political comment. This is the case with the works presented in this exhibition. His ballot boxes and lockers serve as a comment on the recent American elections, and, more generally, on the spaces registered in our collective memory as being quintessentially American. Spaces which are empty, "patriarchal", corporate and domineering, full of symbolisms about citizens and the rights and privileges they can enjoy, while others are excluded from them.
MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections