The German artist Thomas Demand (1964) created his exhibition Nationalgalerie, especially for the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Nationalgalerie took Germany as its theme. As of 29 May 2010 a selection of 25 of these works were shown in Rotterdam in a totally new presentation – including very special curtains.
Demand is an artist as well as a photographer. He starts his process with taking pictures from the media that intrigue him. He makes them into man high cartons which he then makes photo’s of. The carton models are thrown away and all that is left, is the image that almost seems to be real. For his exhibition in Rotterdam he also asked two important German artists for their reactions to his work from the perspective of their own disciplines. The playwright Botho Strauss wrote texts, and the doyen of German cinema, Alexander Kluge, made twelve short films which were shown for the first time in various places in the exhibition space. Visually too, the films and texts are an integral part of the exhibition.
In Berlin the exhibition raised many questions about Germany, the German history and identity and also about dealing with identity in general. Staged in a different historical context, the show was certainly not received in the same way in Rotterdam and raised many different questions. Questions such as: What image did the Dutch have of Germany en How does the way the Dutch deal with recent past, differ from the German way.
Nationalgalerie was made possible with support from the Goethe-Institut Niederlande/ Embassy of the German Federal Republic The Hague, the SNS REAAL Foundation and the Media Foundation