Thomas Demand, La Carte d’après Nature, 2010
La Carte d’apres Nature, published to accompany an exhibition curated by Thomas Demand at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, takes its title from a short-lived art magazine created by René Magritte between 1951 and 1954. Magritte’s publication ran for just fourteen issues and each consisted of a postcard, featuring loosely connected poetry, illustrations and short stories. In a similar fashion,Thomas Demand has selected artworks by eighteen artists that are related to each other in an associative manner. The selected work is connected by two ideas: tamed nature and Surrealism as an artistic form fashioned by Magritte. Just as Magritte himself related ideas from different eras, Demand chose works by different generations of artists: Saâdane Afif, Kudjo Affutu, Becky Beasley, Martin Boyce, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Ger Van Elk, Chris Garofalo, Luigi Ghirri, Leon Gimpel, Rodney Graham, Henrik Håkansson, Anne Holtrop, August Kotzsch, René Magritte, Robert Mallet-Stevens, and Jan and Joel Martel.
The book, designed by Thomas Demand and Naomi Misuzaki, takes Margritte’s notion of free association further, combining the wide range of works into an elaborate exploration of the disjuncture between the representation of art and the representation itself. Christy Lange’s engaging essay traces this idea that a representation of nature is always a simulacrum through the work of the different artists, for example, relating the surrealist resonance of Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri’s ‘impossible landscapes’ to Margritte’s playful canvases and Demand’s photographs of his paper sculptures. Texts by Tacita Dean, Rodney Graham, Luigi Ghirri and Thomas Demand are threaded through the segue of images and the object is completed with a second book housed in an envelope neatly built into the back endpaper of the catalogue, a facsimile of a Luigi Ghirri manuscript for a small book of photographs.