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POMERANZ COLLECTION

THOMAS DEMAND

Pit / Grube
1999
Chromogenic color print on aluminum
231.1 x 167.6 x 4.1 cm
Inv. Nr. 196

Born in 1964 in Munich, Germany
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Pit/Grube shows an empty room illuminated by a beam of artificial light.
A yellow oilskin jacket, a table, and other simple objects are testimonies of a presence-absence. The image refers to a real story, popularized by newspapers and television broadcasters, about Georg Hainzl an Austrian miner who was trapped in a collapsed mine for nine days. In complete isolation and solitary seclusion the miner inhabited the space and the cave became a refuge and a retreat.

Demand makes mural-scale photographs of locations devoid of figures. Instead of finding his subject matter in landscapes, buildings, and crowds, he builds perfect 1:1 models in paper and cardboard in order to reproduce scenes he finds in pre-existing photograph of an actual location culled from various media sources. His dubious reconstructed scenes create tension between the fabricated and the real: everything is very precise but the fine details are though missing. The resulting images are representations of highly symbolic locations where events occurred that form part of the social, political, cultural and historical fabric of the nation and he makes them look as a décor. His work offers a reflection on images created by the medias. Demand knowingly uses the traditional role of photography as a faithful transcriber of the world to throw his subject’s artificiality into doubt. This confounding of references is such that the very idea of an original recedes completely.