Yard

Thomas Demand
January 18 – March 16, 2002

Hof / Yard, 2002 (film still) 
35 mm film loop 
1.28 min, Dolby SR 

Image © Thomas Demand

Hof / Yard, 2002 (film still) 
35 mm film loop 
1.28 min, Dolby SR 

Image © Thomas Demand

Original exhibition invitation

Yard

Thomas Demand
Schipper & Krome, Berlin
January 18 – March 16, 2002
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The exhibition's initial piece is a two-part photo work picturing broken glass – at least that's what it seems, for it is a trompe-l'oeil. 

 

In order to display the central piece of the exhibition, the 35mm film Hof/Yard (2002), Thomas Demand has altered the gallery's topography. The move of the entrance and the installation of a recess through which the visitor has to pass leads to the perception of audible signals, of camera flash lights going off and footsteps on the pavement, before he knows what to expect visually.

 

Demand's method of distilling emblematic and public images, which leads to interpreting them conceptually, is a basic principle of his work. In the present exhibition this method oscillates between the medium of photography and that of film.

After the previous films Tunnel (1999) and Rolltreppe/Escalator (2000), Hof/Yard is Thomas Demand's third film. The loop, of about 1.5 minutes long, paraphrases the media coverage of Slobodan Milosevic's imprisonment. Demand reconstructs the original scene (the arrival of Yugoslavia's ex-dictator at The Hague), omitting any specific identifiable details. The taking into custody on the United Nations' prison's back yard was perceived as long-awaited public image of "Justice" - here it is enriched with an emphasis on its iconic meaning leading to a devaluation of its anecdotal background.

 

Demand's reinterpretation of this media image is threefold. The artist, and similarly the beholder, finds himself in a position between several perspectives of recording, the seemingly actual incident, its media representation and its subjective understanding, in other words: IN FRONT OF/FACED WITH the film, and BEHIND/BEYOND (the) photography. The repeated running over the scene with the film camera and the change of depth of field accentuates the several levels of possible viewpoints. As soon as the pan vanishes in the dark, the camera moves on in search for the next incident.

 

Further than that, the film accentuates a motive immanent in photography: The image can only illuminate the scene if it properly synchronises the opening of the lense with those moments of ideal illumination, when a flash light comes on. The technical parameters of photography become the substantial acoustic and formal aspects of creation of this 35mm film.

 

Since the beginning of the '90s Thomas Demand (1964) has been dealing with the exploration of public images. He studied in Düsseldorf and London and lives in Berlin since 1996. His work is presented in the present issue of Parkett (No. 62); at the moment a collection of his work is touring the USA, organised by the Aspen Art Museum and the DeAppel Foundation Amsterdam.

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