Thomas Demand

In my written feedback for assignment five, my tutor suggested that I look at a couple of artists that work with ideas of constructing and materiality.  The first artist that he recommended was Thomas Demand, specifically his Oval Office series.

For this work, Demand built a life-size ‘replica’ of the Oval Office using cardboard, paper and confetti.  What is particularly interesting about his reconstruction is that it lacks certain key details (such as the faces on photographs or the stars on the American flag), which does create a somewhat unsettling sensation when you start looking at the photographs in detail and recognising these absences.  The artist suggests that by removing these key features, the audience is forced to consider how they think the Oval Office would be rather than how it really is.  I found this a really compelling idea, that I think I can relate to in regards to my kusudama project.  The audience needs to think about what is imagined versus what is real.

Another thing that strikes me about Demand’s work is the sheer scale of it.  It took him two months to build his set!  By comparison, my approximately 10 hours  per kusudama, looks rather paltry (although it certainly didn’t feel it at the time).  Rather than find this discouraging though, it simply gives me inspiration for using more elaborate constructions in the future.