Date: 16 March 2012
Art collides with fashion, literature and architecture in the 25th Kaldor Public Art Project, opening on March 23 in the centre of Sydney. German artist Thomas Demand has teamed up with About Schmidt author Louis Begley and Miuccia Prada for the The Dailies, an installation taking over an entire floor at architect Harry Seidler’s distinctive mid-seventies mushroom-shaped Commercial Travellers Association in Sydney's Martin Place.
The installation will comprise 15 identical hotel rooms that revolve around a long circular corridor. In each of the rooms the artist will make subtle changes and adjustments to the environment. His photographic works (one hung in each room), recreate small fragments from the architecture and interiors of daily life, poetic details he describes as ‘The Dailies’ - like rushes from films or daily newspapers. The installation will take his work from the museum environment to a public space for the first time.
Begley has penned a short story about a commercial traveller's dream-state visit to the CTA. Fragments of the story, Gregor in Sydney, are printed in each room and on the pages of the book. A unique scent for each room has also been created by Miuccia Prada.
"Sydney is the Istanbul of the Pacific," Demand told Phaidon. "A very vibrant place and I liked how enthusiastic the folks there are about art. Art can sometimes make you see the world anew or from a different angle. I would hope going out into the ‘real world’ might do that in an even more pronounced manner, like an embedded image."
Demand constructs painstakingly sculpted environments, settings made with paper and card that he photographs as the basis for his finished artworks. The settings recreate familiar imagery found in the mass media or locations where significant historical or media events have occurred, loaded with political or social meaning. There is a disquieting, calculated realness about his sculpted scenes and at first glance they appear like regular photographs, betrayed by small turns and folds in the paper that highlight a tension between the real and the fabricated.
The series of works he will present for The Dailies are printed using a dye transfer technique only a handful of specialists in the world can achieve, one of the oldest colour photographic processes, unequalled for its richness, depth and fidelity. The artist has used some of the last remaining papers and materials of their kind to print his works via the technique, a method, he tells Phaidon, that will be soon unavailable for future generations of artists.
"They are like gems and only five people on this planet have the experience to make them - let alone (the fact that) no one has the material you need. Every print takes about 40 hours to make. Per single print, not per image. So it's a counteract to the inkjet tsunami which has flooded the photographic world."
In recent years Demand has begun to move beyond traditional exhibition models for his work by transforming the gallery spaces, with carefully designed wallpaper for his exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London (2006), or with a complex installation of curtains as a background for his works at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (2009‐2010). The Dailies is free and open to the public between 23 March – 22 April 2012. A version of the show runs in London at Sprueth Magers from April 14 - May 31.