patternsthatconnect

abstract art, a systems view

Models and modelling: Thomas Demand at Nottingham Contemporary

with 4 comments

Walking towards Model Studies the Thomas Demand exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, and having forgotten whose work was on show, I felt sure that I was walking towards an exhibition of abstract paintings.

In fact, they are large photographs of small architectural models. The scale tends to flatten out the space and to produce large areas of lightly modulated colour, hence the resemblance to American abstract paintings of the 50s and 60s. When you get a bit closer the space in the photos becomes more apparent, it reminds me of the space in a cubist paintings now. I can imagine the artist bending a craning to get into the tiny models attempting to experience it for himself, in a way similar to the cubist modelling of space, as experienced in time.

Demand is known for his photographs of life-size models, made by him, of architectural interiors like the Oval Office, paper models which are destroyed after being photographed. In these new works the models he photographed were made by the architect John Lautner (1911 – 1994), and discovered by Demand in the archives of the Getty Research Institute when he was artist-in residence there.

In this short video clip he talks to Alex Farquharson, the Director of Nottingham Contemporary, about how he found these models and about his interest in the status of the model: far from being a diminution of reality modelling is our way of perceiving the world and communicating our experience of it to others. (In NLP we think of models and modelling in a similar way. We make models of how people do what they do well so that we can teach it to others.) It occurred to me that these photographs, themselves 2 dimensional models, document the process of modelling. They show us something of how in modelling we alter scale, freeze time, distort space in order to ‘understand’.

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Written by Andy Parkinson

March 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

4 Responses

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  1. These look really interesting. I’ve yet to get to Nottingham Contemporary; this might just be the show that changes that.

    Ann Jones

    March 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

  2. CAP

    March 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

  3. Fascinating!

    zorgor

    March 8, 2012 at 3:20 am

  4. Thanks all for your comments. And thanks CAP for your excellent link comparing/contrasting Demand and Casebere. I am interested in your point about the filtering out that photography enables, ruthlessly measuring the model “against the mechanics of realism in depiction…”

    Andy Parkinson

    March 9, 2012 at 10:34 am


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