Space Simulator, 2003
dye coupler print, laminated to plexiglas (Diasec process)
300 x 429.5 cm installed
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41424.1-3)
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Sodrac, Québec
Thomas Demand conceives of and builds sculptures for the camera, looking to the composition and colour of painting as he creates his images. The Berlin-based artist depicts significant historical moments and sites, sourcing images from the media, history books or family archives. Constructed life-size entirely from paper in his studio, Demand's replicas exist only to be photographed and are subsequently destroyed. "Space Simulator" was inspired by a black and white photograph of the Apollo Mission Simulator used by astronauts to train for moon landings at the Kennedy Space Center between 1968 and 1972. The ambiguous, seemingly illogical mechanical object attracted the artist in its likeness to cubist paintings and sculpture. Close examination of Demand's photograph reveals the visible cuts and seams of his reconstruction, his approximation playing on the NASA training machine's simulation that provided astronauts with a "real" experience.