In his work, German artist Thomas Demand (b. 1964), who lives in Berlin, focuses on places connected in public memory with major events of recent history. In a highly realistic way, he reproduces them in paper and cardboard, photographs the models and then destroys them, obtaining a series of large-format color photographs, two-dimensional images of three-dimensional representations of supposedly real places, depicted without figures or scenic elements and whose narrative or memorial quality is provided only by the individual viewer’s memory. Thus, commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, in 2008 Demand created the “Presidency” series, a tableau of five photographs of a reproduction of the Oval Office of the American president. On the occasion of the 2008 presidential elections, the magazine selected one of the Oval Office photos for its front page, leaving open who is occupying the empty chair behind the desk and thus the control center of the world’s political power. Demand, who builds his models based on photographic material from the media, utilizes the historical power of the places he selects and plays with their aura and the illusion created by their representation. The Montblanc Cultural Foundation purchased “Presidency I”, which was transferred in 2010 to the Gallery of Contemporary Art of the Hamburger Kunsthalle as a permanent loan.
Gallery of Contemporary Art