Artist meets artist

Azzedine Alaïa and Thomas Demand love patterns

Artist meets Artist

Azzedine Alaïa was considered a designer’s designer in his lifetime. The same can be said for photographer and contemporary artist Thomas Demand. An artist’s artist. Alaïa became famous for sculpting leather clothes on women’s curves and Demand for building miniature models of historically significant events and then photographing them.

Alaïa showed off schedule and dictated his own rhythm just like Demand who alternates between major museum retrospectives or gallery showings of current work.

What a wonderful idea of the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation to invite Demand to look at the patterns of the designer, which represent his personal design history.

Artist meets Artist

Partridge (2020) by Thomas Demand. © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Courtesy Sprüth Magers.

Currently presented in two exhibitions at the London gallery Sprüth Magers and at the M Museum at Leuven in Belgium, the photos celebrate the fragility and poetry of the paper prints of Azzedine Alaïa’s clothes. These flat patterns, used for the creation of three-dimensional clothing, are captured here in the two-dimensional format of the photograph.

Artist meets Artist

Installation view, Thomas Demand, Sprüth Magers, London, 2021. © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Courtesy Sprüth Magers. Photo: Benjamin Westoby.

Curled up and folded, perforated and serrated, they bear traces of time, and their shapes speak of garments, bodies and silhouettes. They are resting, it seems, as still lifes testifying to a very dynamic and active life, some movement still latently visible in the folds. The photographic detail reproduces the marks of the work: fingerprints, folds, perforations and tears. This random assembly of cardboard, paper and tracing paper silhouettes, in the colors of the rainbow, plays hide-and-seek with Thomas Demand’s lens, states the press release and adds a quote from the artist:

“You don’t know if they are going to find themselves picked up eventually, or become part of another artwork, and that’s what I liked about the studio situation here, where you just don’t know.”–Thomas Demand

Artist meets Artist

Installation view, Thomas Demand, Sprüth Magers, London, 2021. © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Courtesy Sprüth Magers. Photo: Benjamin Westoby.

Title image: Partial close up from Towhee (2020) by Thomas Demand. © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Courtesy Sprüth Magers.

The exhibition Thomas Demand at Sprüth Magers Gallery, London, runs until May 15, 2021.