Thomas Demand

Vault, 2012

Thomas Demand
Dimensions and medium
Chromogenic print mounted under plexiglass, 6/6, 219.8 × 277 cm
Artwork description
In 2011, approximately thirty works of art that had disappeared during the Second World War were found in the Wildenstein Institute, a major art historical research centre, following a raid by the City of Paris’s police department. Works by Degas, Monet, Morisot, and many others belonging to several French families, were hidden inside a vault at the Institute for several decades. Thomas Demand’s Vault recreates this nondescript space as it is depicted in a forensic photograph, where the backs of framed paintings are seen stacked against the walls and piled in small groupings on the floor. Subjugated by an atmosphere of secrets and privilege, of restricted access and, finally, of discovery and unveiling, the viewer’s gaze moves across this still image, navigating the space between truth and invention.

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