Nationalgalerie

Thomas Demand
May 29 – August 22, 2010

Terrasse, 1998 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

An important historical work, the 1998 Terrasse is one of only a few motifs relating to the artist’s personal life and is based on a photograph taken at a private party. The image depicts a space with chairs, tables, and two outdoor grills. The darkened space is illuminated by four paper lampions. On the table remnants of a human presence are visible, as if a gathering had been interrupted. The traces evoke the absent visitors and imbue Terrasse with a mysterious quality.


Kinderzimmer / Nursery, 2009 (right)

C-Print, Diasec

Thomas Demand used an old slide of his nursery made by his father as template for „Kinderzimmer“. In spite of that the artwork is not a documentation of his youth. Demand concentrated on certain aspects of the old motive and changed many details of the image. In that the artist cleaned the image from personal references and transformed it into a representative image of a West-German nursery in the 1960s.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Kinderzimmer / Nursery, 2009

C-Print, Diasec

Thomas Demand used an old slide of his nursery made by his father as template for „Kinderzimmer“. In spite of that the artwork is not a documentation of his youth. Demand concentrated on certain aspects of the old motive and changed many details of the image. In that the artist cleaned the image from personal references and transformed it into a representative image of a West-German nursery in the 1960s.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Studio, 1997

C-Print, Diasec

 

Kinderzimmer / Nursery, 2009 (background)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Copyshop, 1999

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Copyshop, 1999

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Lichtung / Clearing, 2003

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Labor / Laboratory, 2000 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Lichtung / Clearing, 2003 (right)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Exhibition view

Nationalgalerie, 2010

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Exhibition view

Nationalgalerie, 2010

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Exhibition view

Nationalgalerie, 2010

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Fenster / window, 1998
C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Balkone, 1997
C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Balkone, 1997
C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Attempt, 2005 (front)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Fotoecke / Photobooth, 2009 (back)
C-Print, Diasec

The work shows an image of a photo center in the political prison in Gera. The inmates were photographed regularly. Years after the prison was closed, someone noticed that a striking number of the detainees suffered from leukemia. A subsequent investigation unearthed that hidden behind the curtain was another photographic device, an x-ray apparatus, which had been used without the optics, probably emitting radiation unhindered and contaminating the inmates. 

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Attempt, 2005 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Parlament / Parliament, 2009 (right)
C-Print, Diasec

The detail of the interior of the old Bundestag in Bonn shows the seat of the chancellor in the former German Federal Parliament in Bonn with its well-known lectern of the Parliament in the foreground.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Parlament / Parliament, 2009
C-Print, Diasec

The detail of the interior of the old Bundestag in Bonn shows the seat of the chancellor in the former German Federal Parliament in Bonn with its well-known lectern of the Parliament in the foreground.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Fotoecke / Photobooth, 2009 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

The work shows an image of a photo center in the political prison in Gera. The inmates were photographed regularly. Years after the prison was closed, someone noticed that a striking number of the detainees suffered from leukemia. A subsequent investigation unearthed that hidden behind the curtain was another photographic device, an x-ray apparatus, which had been used without the optics, probably emitting radiation unhindered and contaminating the inmates. 

 

Heldenorgel, 2009 (right)

C-Print, Diasec

A memorial set up in 1931 for the victims of World War I in Kufstein, Austria, was later reinterpreted as a memorial for all victims of war. It is not made of stone or words, it is an organ: the Heroes' Organ. Every day at twelve, the song of the old comrades "Die alten Kameraden" rang out through the valley. The memorial was recently demolished. Demand's work deals with different ways of remembering and the question how, in the course of several years or decades, it can sometimes change.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Heldenorgel, 2009
C-Print, Diasec

A memorial set up in 1931 for the victims of World War I in Kufstein, Austria, was later reinterpreted as a memorial for all victims of war. It is not made of stone or words, it is an organ: the Heroes' Organ. Every day at twelve, the song of the old comrades "Die alten Kameraden" rang out through the valley. The memorial was recently demolished. Demand's work deals with different ways of remembering and the question how, in the course of several years or decades, it can sometimes change.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Fotoecke / Photobooth, 2009

C-Print, Diasec

The work shows an image of a photo center in the political prison in Gera. The inmates were photographed regularly. Years after the prison was closed, someone noticed that a striking number of the detainees suffered from leukemia. A subsequent investigation unearthed that hidden behind the curtain was another photographic device, an x-ray apparatus, which had been used without the optics, probably emitting radiation unhindered and contaminating the inmates. 

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Fotoecke / Photobooth, 2009 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

The work shows an image of a photo center in the political prison in Gera. The inmates were photographed regularly. Years after the prison was closed, someone noticed that a striking number of the detainees suffered from leukemia. A subsequent investigation unearthed that hidden behind the curtain was another photographic device, an x-ray apparatus, which had been used without the optics, probably emitting radiation unhindered and contaminating the inmates. 

 

Büro / Office, 1995 (right)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Büro / Office, 1995 (left)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Archiv / Archive, 1995 (right)

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Archiv / Archive, 1995

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Klause 2 / Tavern 2, 2006 (left)

Klause 1 / Tavern 1, 2006 (right)
Both works: C-print, Diasec

 

The images of the five-part Klause depict views of the exterior and the interior of a small-town tavern where a murder had been committed. The absence of individualizing marks (like writing, signs of wear or of human presence) that characterizes almost all of Demand’s works, has a double function here: while it announces the constructedness of the image, it also heightens the observer’s sense of searching for a forensic clue.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Klause 3 / Tavern 3, 2006 (left)

Klause 5 / Tavern 5, 2006 (right)
Both works: C-print, Diasec

 

The images of the five-part Klause depict views of the exterior and the interior of a small-town tavern where a murder had been committed. The absence of individualizing marks (like writing, signs of wear or of human presence) that characterizes almost all of Demand’s works, has a double function here: while it announces the constructedness of the image, it also heightens the observer’s sense of searching for a forensic clue.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Klause 5 / Tavern 5, 2006 (left)

Klause 4 / Tavern 4, 2006 (right)
Both works: C-print, Diasec

 

The images of the five-part Klause depict views of the exterior and the interior of a small-town tavern where a murder had been committed. The absence of individualizing marks (like writing, signs of wear or of human presence) that characterizes almost all of Demand’s works, has a double function here: while it announces the constructedness of the image, it also heightens the observer’s sense of searching for a forensic clue.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Haltestelle, 2009
C-Print, Diasec

The image shows a common bus shelter near Magdeburg, where the Kaulitz brothers used to meet when they were 12 years old and came up with the idea to found Tokyo Hotel, by now one of Germany's most popular and internationally successful pop bands. A kind of fan hysteria developed around the bus shelter cult site that is right outside their parents' house. Day and night, crowds of crying fans camped out there. The neighbors eventually decided to sell the bus shelter in an act of self-defense.

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Rasen / Lawn, 1998

C-Print, Diasec

 

Photo © Studio Hans Wilschut

Nationalgalerie

Thomas Demand
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
May 29 – August 22, 2010
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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is staging a solo exhibition by the artist Thomas Demand. Nationalgalerie takes Germany as its theme and is being shown outside the country for the first time. Staged in a different historical context, the show will certainly not be received in the same way in Rotterdam.

 

Nationalgalerie, the first solo exhibition of the work of German artist Thomas Demand (1964) in Berlin, was specially conceived for the Neue Nationalgalerie. The exhibition is a thematic retrospective. The artist has selected pieces from his work that specifically relate to the subject of the Nationalgalerie. In Berlin, the exhibition coincided with two significant celebrations, the founding of the German Federal Republic sixty years ago, and the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago. In Rotterdam the exhibition will coincide with the end of the Second World War sixty-five years ago and the bombing of the city seventy years ago.

 

Image of Germany

The underlying question is how an exhibition like this, specifically geared to Germany, will be received in the Netherlands. Demand’s show in Berlin raised many questions about Germany, German history, German identity and how to deal with one’s own identity. By showcasing images (and sometimes well-known media images) relating to German history in a single presentation, Demand triggers visitors’ subjective relationship with them and with individual identities in general. The exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will not only be a new version of the Berlin show, it will also raise questions about the image the Dutch have of Germany, and indirectly about how Dutch and German attitudes and outlooks differ and about the way the Dutch deal with processing recent history.

 

A Palette of History

In Rotterdam, Demand will be showing some twenty-five works that reflect his slant on social and public events in German history since 1945. It is an installation that echoes the architecture of the show in the Neue Nationalgalerie, but has a unique sculptural quality as an installation. Demand always starts the process with an image from the media that intrigues him. These are often images that are well-known in Germany, such as Haltestelle, the much-discussed bus shelter where the rock band Tokio Hotel used to meet.


Demand makes life-sized cardboard models of the events in the photographs, which he then photographs with a large camera. This technique gives his works an architectural quality. In the photograph, the monumental bursts through and the image is disconnected from the trivialities and the clutter of the surroundings. Demand’s works create a multi-colored palette of a defining period in recent German history.

 

Thomas Demand has exhibited all over the world, with recent solo exhibitions in London, New York and at the Venice Biennale.

 

Nationalgalerie has been made possible with support from the Goethe-Institut Niederlande/ Embassy of the German Federal Republic The Hague, the SNS REAAL Foundation, Foundation for Democracy and Media and the Mondriaan Foundation.

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