Thomas Demand ( German, 1964 )

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General Description

"There is no innocent room."

—Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand's photograph seems to be of a white architectural model sitting on top of a simple wooden table in an institutional room. The room is in the studio of the architect of the Third Reich (1933-1945), Albert Speer (1905-1981), and the model in the photograph is Speer's idea for the rebuilding of Paris following World War II. It was set up for Adolf Hitler's viewing before being shipped to the German Pavilion at the Paris Exposition in 1937.

On closer inspection, imperfections hint that model, table, window, and every part of the room are not "real," but a hand-made construction. Paradoxically Modell is a photograph of a "model" (a constructed set). Using simple materials of cardboard and colored paper, Demand, who began his artistic career as a sculptor, painstakingly created a full-scale environment and then photographed it. Demand challenges viewers to consider the use of architecture to embody political ideas and as a propaganda tool, as well as to contemplate the "truth" of photography.

Adapted from

  • Suzanne Weaver, DMA unpublished material, 2001.

  • Charlie Wylie, Label text, 2004.

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