On Demand

While shelving a series of twelve folio coffee-table books on contemporary art, I discovered Thomas Demand. He's a German photographer who recreates banal everyday scenes using paper and cardboard, before taking snaps of them for posterity. I've included one of his works on today's blog because I'm stunned, and impressed, by the way he's managed to pull the whole thing off.

Demand's photographs are constructions of realistic and mundane scenes imbued with all those human qualities (imperfections) that we take for granted. I remember Gustave Flaubert suggesting we be calm and orderly in our lives, so that we are free to be violent and chaotic in our work: Demand has taken care to be calm and methodical in his work to show how messy and unpredictable our lives can be. And to look at some of his photographs, I can't help but be struck by a feeling of recognition, of an identification with the scene. But it's little more than a mirage.

The images of corporate offices, made almost entirely of paper, perhaps have something important to say about the hollow and fragile absurdities of contemporary living. And his work seems to share the visual approach of works like Julian Opie' abstract sculpture You are in a Car (Volvo 440). But I just think they're fascinating to look at. I love the way he can arrange some cardboard segments and some coloured paper to look like a cluttered kitchen sink or a fried egg.

You can find a small sample of Demand's work on his website.