Adam Caruso and Thomas Demand interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010. Produced by the Institute of the 21st Century with support from ForYourArt, The Kayne Foundation, Brenda R. Potter, Catharine and Jeffrey Soros.
Adam Caruso studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal. He worked for Florian Beigel and Arup Associates before establishing his own practice with Peter St John in 1990.
He taught at the University of North London from 1990-2000, and was Professor of Architecture at the University of Bath from 2002-2005. He has been Visiting Professor at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, at the ETH Zurich, and on the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. In 2011 Adam Caruso was appointed Professor of Architecture and Construction at the ETH Zurich.
Thomas Demand is a German sculptor and photographer. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg.
Thomas Demand is known for making photographs of three-dimensional models that look like real images of rooms and other spaces, often sites loaded with social and political meanings. He thus describes himself not as a photographer, but as a conceptual artist for whom photography is an intrinsic part of his creative process. Having studied sculpture under Fritz Schwegler at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf alongside Katharina Fritsch and Thomas Schütte, Demand began his career as a sculptor. In 1993, he began to use photography to record his elaborate, life-sized paper-and-cardboard constructions of actually or formerly existing environments and interior spaces, and soon started to create constructions for the sole purpose of photographing them. The photograph he takes of this model with a large-format-camera is the final stage of his work, and it is only this image, most often executed in an edition, of six that is exhibited unframed behind Plexiglas, not the models. On the contrary, Demand destroys his “life-size environments” after he has photographed them. One notable exception is his large scale model for Grotto (2006), inspired by a postcard of a Mallorcan grotto Demand has never visited, which was later exhibited. The life sized models are highly detailed, yet they retain subtle but deliberate flaws and anachronisms, such as an unnaturally uniform texture; according to art critic Michael Kimmelman, “the reconstructions were meant to be close to, but never perfectly, realistic so that the gap between truth and fiction would always subtly show”.
Hans Ulrich Obrist:
Hans Ulrich Obrist is an art curator, critic and historian of art. He is artistic director at the Serpentine Galleries, London. Obrist is the author of The Interview Project, an extensive ongoing project of interviews. He is also co-editor of the Cahiers d’art revue.