Photographs

Artist Thomas Demand on Politics & Sculpting Presidential Interiors

By Stephanie Sporn

O n 14 February, The Octavian Report returned to Sotheby’s New York for an insightful conversation, titled "Art, Reality, and Fake News." The quarterly magazine’s publisher Richard Hurowitz, also a writer and hedge-fund founder, sat down with artist Thomas Demand, who curated the imagery for Octavian's winter issue. At Sotheby’s, the two discussed Demand’s often political subject matter, as well as his unique process and surprising medium of choice. Demand uses paper to construct still lives of landscapes and interiors, which he then photographs, resulting in convincingly realistic images.   

THOMAS DEMAND, CUTTINGS, 2015, (DETAIL). © THOMAS DEMAND, VG BILD-KUNST, BONN / ARS, NEW YORK 

The mouldable medium of paper appeals to Demand for its temporality and accessibility – living in a small studio, he could sculpt, photograph, discard and start over with ease, explained Demand. The artist also shared how digital research and on-site visits, when possible, are key to his œuvre. Whether it’s the Oval Office or an embassy, detail is an essential part of Demand's staged reality, down to the pens on a desk or books on a shelf.  


Lead Image: Thomas Demand, Folders, 2017, C-Print / Diasec, 125 x 195 cm. © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / ARS, New York

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