Sprüth Magers

Thomas Demand

18 Sep - 01 Nov 2014

Daily #20, 2012, Framed Dye Transfer Print, 53,8 x 68,6 cm
© Thomas Demand / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London
Thomas Demand
Dailies 2008 – 2014
18/09 – 08/11/2014
Since 2008, Thomas Demand has been making the Dailies, a series of photographs developed from
pictures he has taken on his camera phone. Best known for large-scale photographs of life-sized
models built by the artist, which might portray an interior space linked to the news or recent history,
the Dailies see Demand turn his attention to the overlooked details of everyday life. The printed
works are relatively small, yet achieve an intensity that goes beyond their source material: phone
snapshots of minor, offhand scenes, such as a laundry line or an abandoned ice-cream cup. The
Dailies have been exhibited widely, from Australia to New York, as well as Sprüth Magers London,
in 2012. This is the first time they are exhibited in Germany and will include the two latest works,
Daily #22 and #23 (both 2014).
The everyday subject matter is put into sharp relief by the richness of the colours, which Demand
achieves by making each print with the labour-intensive method of dye-transfer, a process that
involves fixing dyes with gelatine to ordinary paper. Demand chose this process for its saturated
colours, spatial depth, intense darkness, as well as the durability of the pigments, all elements that
serve to emphasise the formal power of the photographs. Even if the photograph depicts little more
than an ephemeral model of a straw and cup lid tossed onto the pavement, the print itself is a
delicately crafted object.
The Dailies reflect the pervasive photo-snapping culture of the present day, the current urge to seize
and share any momentary scene or event, yet Demand brings a forceful intensity to these everyday
scenes. The full contrasts and dynamic compositions often bring to mind modernist and geometrical
abstraction. A bathroom mirror, reminiscent of a restaurant anywhere, becomes an angled grid,
suggesting a Suprematist composition. Venetian blinds, messed up and radiating a blue glow, could
be a readymade Rothko. A clear plastic glass, half-full of yellow liquid, sits precariously on a
windowsill. Partially reflected in the window behind it, the composition is as tense and balanced as
the scene it depicts. In one of the two recent Dailies, #22, a small ice-cream cup sits abandoned on
a ledge, the handle of its purple spoon extending into the foreground, casting a small shadow.
Behind, the vertical lines of a dark grey barrier intersect with the dull beige of a ledge. A gentle
shadow wraps itself around the white ice-cream cup, creating a compact area of subtle tonal
gradations. Above all, this is a spatial construction, an abstraction attentive to tone, composition,
and internal coherence. The Dailies highlight these spaces of everyday beauty, suggesting that
even a glimpse of a disposable scene can be transformed into an object of infinite contemplation.
Thomas Demand (born 1964, Munich) lives in Los Angeles and Berlin. Solo exhibitions include the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the Kaldor Public Art Project #25, Sydney (both 2012), the
Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010), the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2009-10), the
MUMOK, Vienna (2009), the Hamburger Kunsthalle (2008), the Fondazione Prada, Venice (2007),
the Serpentine Gallery, London, and Lenbachhaus, Munich (both 2006), MoMA, New York (2005),
the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2004), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
(2003), and the Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2002). He also represented Germany at the 26th São
Paulo Biennale (2004).
Sprüth Magers Berlin is concurrently presenting the solo exhibition Radiopictures by Thomas
Scheibitz and the group show Arte Povera and 'Multipli', Torino 1970-1975 curated by Elena Re.

Tags: Thomas Demand, Thomas Scheibitz