~THOMAS DEMAND: a look back at his DISASTER SCENARIOS . . .

ok, moving on from one disaster to the next, you know: annoying emails, LA MOCA, and DEAD authors !!

with so much DRAMA, CHAOS and ENTROPY !! at hand – I think it’s fitting to look back at the art show that jumpstarted, ‘called it’, ok . . . caught the trend/wave – of it all, and that would be:

‘THOMAS DEMAND’ – which ran MAY 5, 2012 – JUNE 23, 2012 at MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY in CHELSEA, NYC.

or as artlovers called it at the time: “FREIZE NOT, DEMAND HOT !!!”

from COMMES DES GARCONS . . . to THOMAS DEMAND – without skipping a heartbeat !!
oh, what our ‘bags’ tell – all about us !!

THOMAS DEMAND, ‘Kontrollraum / Control Room’, 2011.
C-print mounted on plexiglas, 78-3/4 x 118-1/8 in.
(I bet Matthew Marks made out like a bandit – on this one !! – the prices & edition numbers – were not posted, btw.)

it’s not just the loneliness of the installation, very sparse in a big white room, or the loneliness of the photos, huge and empty of humans, in human situations – NOR the actual historical disasters they speak to – but that the scenarios are meticulously, well broadly meticulously !! re-created from PAPER. and paint.
and I think – in real life scale. look again !!

p.s. I’m just guessing the paper was painted, or otherwise custom-colored in some places. there are NO visual brush strokes – a very important visual factor – contributing to the over-all modernity and coolness of the piece. hyper psychedelic collage party – NOT !!
I mean, do they have such a great range of ready-to-use construction paper in Germany. who knows, maybe ?
I’ll have to ask him, Thomas Demand, that is – the next time I see him.

plus it’s great that the paper paint job is NOT shaded !! it totally adds to the ‘irony’ & sweet ‘desire’ of the overall work. great color tonality, too.

so, disaster is re-constructed – and you can think on that – for YOURSELF !!

YES. this is the scenario for the that big tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown, hello Kitty – in Japan.
you can google the situation & the THOMAS DEMAND recreation situation, and find out all about both – by YOURSELF, too.
tons of words – were written on the background stories, of the actual event & the art – duh.

in the back room – was a big looped ‘recreation’ animated video/film and sound installation. very striking for the visuals, the eerie soundtrack, and of course – the screening being ENDLESSLY looped – all alone in that big otherwise empty, and super professional – exhibition room.

THOMAS DEMAND, ‘Pacific Sun’, 2012. Film and Sound Installation. 147-1/2 x 197 in.

again, the scale, color tonality and paper folding (!!) – was super: sweet and moving. a tragedy in motion – now put into stripped-down replay – forever !!

note: the computer was the first to go – !!

the gallery press release was the most generous with the details, history & behind-the-scenes production – on this piece:

“Based on a video of a cruise ship caught in a storm between the Republic of VANUATU and AUCKLAND, New Zealand which the artist found on Youtube (!!), ‘Pacific Sun’ follows the full narrative arc (!!) . . . . (love how that echoes the ‘arc’ of the wooden serving bar in – the ship’s cafe, above !!) . . . . of the ship’s violent encounter (!!) in the Tasman Sea. Seen from the point of view of a security camera in the boat’s cafe, the film begins with the subtle movement of small items and escalates to full emergency.

‘Pacific Sun’ was filmed over 15 months, and is the most ambitious undertaking of the artist’s career. The film was made on a full scale set and, like Demand’s models for his photographs, was completely constructed of paper and then destroyed. It comprises a total of 2,400 frames, filmed one at a time, as animators meticulously retraces the movements of each item in the room, shifting the paper models of plates, lemons, pendant lamps, chairs, an upright piano, and a refrigerator by several millimeters at a time.”

again, composition-wise & sculpture-wise: dig that wooden ‘bar’ arc !!
what a nice sweep of ‘rich’ – non-color !! and paper construction !!

BIG QUESTION: so, where were the human passengers ?
were they already rounded up in an emergency holding area ?

so, obviously the BIG PUNCH – to the whole gig – is the very COOLNESS with which the narrative of disaster – was re-created, and filmed.
everybody was talking about the show when it opened – and not just because it was NOT a $40 shlep to Randalls’ Island !!
everybody got, that this coolly x 1,000 transitioned piece – was ALL about the living . . . la vie loca !! – of the fast sinking world as we knew it – that we live in – that runs a new anxiety vibe under everybody’s life force – in human year 2012.
not to mention: FAMINE ? SEVERE DROUGHT – widespread across the (former) bread basket of the USA this summer.

case in point. global warming. item: this summer – hot enough for ya ?

yep, I’m telling ya – DAN ASHER gonna be bigger than JEFF KOONS. mark my words.
it’s gross footprint vs. tiny fingerprint. aka – the BIO / ECO WARS !!
even 5 yr old Hushpuppy is having nightmares about the crashing, melting icebergs ala ALEXANDER McQUEEN, in that g-r-e-a-t Louisiana bathtub ode – ‘BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD’ – did you see it, yet ?

AGAIN: take two.
that’s what’s so nice about film & looping – in general. you can start to pick up the details.

so, note: the computer – was among the first – to go !!

just think on the IMMENSITY of that – in a digital age. iCloud and extra hard drive storage, be damned !!
it isn’t just the stop of commerce, and the silence of the digital cash registers that this speaks to – BUT, all our knowledge will evaporate, too. it’s all digital. I got NO hard copies of this site, that’s for sure.

and the hoarders, of all people – the obsessive collectors of all things crusty & real time, old newspapers, vinyl (!!) etc – – – will become the new STARS !!
yep, picture that.

of course the other project in the room – was the re-creation of WHITNEY HOUSTON’S – last meal.
all I want to say, is how GORGEOUS that deep olive green of the (re-created) hotel tablecloth is – the metaphors you can work for yourself !!

THOMAS DEMAND, ‘Junior Suite’, 2012. C-print mounted on plexiglas. 55 x 45-1/4 in.

LAST THOUGHTS: of course you know, right ? that GERMANY has a long and very illustrious folk art tradition of paper cutting. like the Japanese have origami, the art of paper folding – the old time Germans had paper cutting. it was sometimes very fussy and ornate – but always full of symbols . . . as in METAPHORS (!!) check !! – lots of hearts and flowers.

so you can trace the origins of the work of THOMAS DEMAND back to a folk craft !!
the old European paper cutting arts – also came down to us – in the form of the pioneering Pennsylvania DUTCH, i.e. German – hex signs, etc. or in other words:

and so too – did: German-born artist THOMAS DEMAND.

yep, NEW YORK CIY – SPRING 2012.
FREIZE, not so.
but, THOMAS DEMAND was – hot !!

show me ONE single image of NEW work that came out of that fair / show and blew NYC away – besides the actual aerial photos – of the fair tent – itself !! you cannot.
NOT !!
period. end of story.
and, don’t send me any annoying emails, either. as NORA EPHRON would surely say, the proof is in the pudding.
and she liked hers, with LOTS of raisins !!