Artwork Detail

German, b. 1964
Chromogenic color print on a Diasec mount
78 3/4 x 69 3/4 "
University purchase with funds from the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation, 2011
WU 2011.0002
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Thomas Demand’s artistic practice challenges traditional boundaries between sculpture and photography. Originally trained as a sculptor, Demand creates large-scale photographs by taking existing images—typically popular media photographs—and rebuilding the scenes they depict as three-dimensional paper models, then photographing the rebuilt scenes. The artist then destroys the models, which are life size and, minus some details, true to the original: the photographs constitute the final work. By basing his photographs on ephemeral paper sculptures, Demand destabilizes the indexical aspect of photography or, rather, questions whether it was ever stable to begin with. The scene depicted in "Shed" alludes to the arrest of Bernardo Provenzano, one of Italy’s most infamous Mafia heads, who was captured in a derelict shed near Corleone, Sicily. Until his capture in 2006, Provenzano had lived underground for over forty years. His absence (as a missing suspect) and presence (as a notorious criminal) had grown over the years, like a phantom haunting Italian society. Demand visualizes this phantom-like presence by focusing on the banal aspects of Provenzano’s life in hiding. [Exhibition brochure text, 2013]