The title HOUSE OF CARD refers to the precariousness of Thomas Demand’s practice as a builder. Although architecture generally equates with permanence, Demand explores ephemerality through his use of paper and cardboard. Working with these materials, he is known for producing full-scale models in his studio that recreate notorious, newsworthy or familiar scenes he often sources from media images. Demand then records these recreations on camera through photography or film, while the models themselves are subsequently destroyed. Demand’s final images exhibit no traces of time or the building process; in this way they deliberately create distance in relation to the found images they are supposed to depict.
HOUSE OF CARD at MOCA features a selection of these ‘recreations,’ as well as placing emphasis on Demand’s exploration into architecture, model making and collaborative processes. Throughout the exhibition, we are invited to explore how architecture plays a role in Demand’s practice and how models can act as both a proposition and a memory. At the same time, HOUSE OF CARD highlights the similarities between Demand’s projects and those by other influential artists, architects and designers, namely Martin Boyce, Caruso St John and Rirkrit Tiravanija, as well as the models of practitioners that Demand has photographed as part of an ongoing enquiry titled “Model Studies.”
This site-specific iteration of HOUSE OF CARD, includes a new selection of works, and is based on an exhibition first produced and presented by the Museum Leuven in Belgium in 2020, curated by Valerie Verhack.
Recognized globally for his innovation as a contemporary artist, Demand has won numerous awards for his work and has been exhibited and published extensively. Selected solo exhibitions include The Shutter of History, UCCA Edge, Shanghai (2022); Mundo De Papel, Centro Botín, Santander (2021-22); Mirror Without Memory, Garage, Moscow (2021-22); HOUSE OF CARD, Museum Leuven (2020-21); The Boat is Leaking, The Captain Lied, Fondazione Prada, Ca’ Corner della Regina, Venice (2017); The Modern, Fort Worth (2016) and Pacific Sun, LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2015). Demand participated in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and represented Germany at the 26th Sao Paulo Biennial (2004). HIs work is represented in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and Tate Modern, London among many others.
Thomas Demand Studio
Martin Boyce Studio
MOCA Exhibition Production
Rui Mateus Amaral
U of T