Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thomas Demand, Dailies @ Matthew Marks Gallery

I’ve always liked Thomas Demand. I think his quest to make work about contemporary events by creating and photographing life-size paper models is endlessly impressive. Despite the labor-intensive craft of his pictures, he also tends to make visually engaging pictures, even if you were to mistake them for real spaces. His foray into moving images was a stunning step up of both technical ability and visual skill. The ability to make a compelling image has been important to his work, because at his level you can easily wrangle a team of interns to help tackle the manual labor required. But I am not sure what to make of a lot of innocuous still-lifes of random things. It feels like a real step backwards, where the pictures are okay, but nothing terribly ambitious. It’s as if he is in a Jeff-Wall still-life phase, where it’s hard to tell if he needs a little artistic downtime or if the marketable focus on the wacky craft of his pictures has overwhelmed any inherent meaning in the work and he has just become Vik Muniz.

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