Demand, Thomas Folders, 2017
C-Print /Diasec 125 x 195 cm Courtesy: Sprüth Magers/ The artist // ©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 Photo: archive of the artist

About the work

On the occassion of his first press conference after being elected president of the United States of America on 11. January 2017, Donald Trump presented a stack of documents next to his lectern. According to the president-elect they contained documents relating to the handover of his businesses to a foundation led by his sons. Prior to this the possible conflict of interests between his private financial goals as an entreprenuer and his political ones as president of the United States had faced sharp criticism. During the press conference Trump and his lawyer repeatedly gestured towards the stack without, however, allowing journalists to even touch them which led to the rumour that they were dummies. The absurdity of the situtation in which the document files are presented as evidence yet remain purely symbolical is amplified through the medium of photography.


About the artist

born 1964 in Munich
lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin

Thomas Demand grew up near Munich and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Munich before changing to the sculpture class led by Fritz Schwegler at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1990. Even though he was never taught by Hilla and Bernd Becher, his understanding of photography was greatly influenced by their idea of objectivism. Demand works between photography and sculpture. For his large-scale photographs he builds cardboard replicas of places and scenes from well-known press images which he destroys afterwards. Without any trace of humans or writing they evoke a déja-vu moment in the viewer, an uncanny moment of recognition. Similarly to his models, the designs primarily exist as photographic images. Demand is interested in uncovering mechanisms of memory and their role in the formation of cultural identity through his work. The model is fascinating to him not just as building material of his photographs but also as a cultural technique of appropriating and visualizing the world.