Friday, February 8, 2008

An Image A Week: Thomas Demand

Instead of sharing my own thoughts on Thomas Demand's work, I thought I'd include this excerpt of a conversation between Demand and Vik Muniz. This exchange appeared in issue 8 of Blindspot Magazine under the title of "A Notion Of Space." Although brief, I think this excerpt addresses some really interesting points about needing to find new ways to interpret contemporary imagery.

THOMAS DEMAND: I think photography is less about representing than constructing its objects. That's one of the central points in my recent work: to reconsider the status of the image by producing one particular moment of perfection. It also points to the problem of authorship, an issue which is becoming unavoidable for the new generation of photographers. At the same time as the eye cruises through more and more images, it cannot trust what it sees anymore. Our concept of copyright and reliability of the media will become obsolete too. But the role of art in this respect is not to alarm or to seek shelter. It's to make it transparent, to understand its quality and to be constructive.

VIK MUNIZ: A good way to understand something is to try to build it yourself, not just break it to see what is inside. If there is one thing left to be against, it is the avant-garde itself, this idea that if you break a few rules because someone else made them, you are a damn smart person. I like to dismantle things I build myself to fully experience the cycle of empowerment and deceit of their representations. I've been working with maps recently because they are seemingly abstract forms that can take one's mind to really specific places. A photograph of a map is about as good a document as a drawing of a photograph. It can only chart one's daydreaming. The specific becomes strictly mental and abstract.

Poll, 2001

Image © Thomas Demand