Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Stadel Museum Presents Thomas Demand Installation

The internationally renowned German artist Thomas Demand (born in Munich in 1964) will realize a site-specific room-spanning work in the Städel Museum’s historical Metzler Hall in the context of the institution’s structural and thematic extension. The installation “Saal” (Hall, 2011) covers all four walls of the 240-square-meter event space with an illusionistic crimson curtain which reveals itself as an optical illusion on closer inspection. Spanning a wall area of 380 square meters, “Saal” is the largest work conceived by Demand for a museum to date.

“Encompassing moments of the past and the present, Thomas Demand’s works are concerned with the reality and transformation of visual memory. What we found particularly appealing in this context was inviting the artist to deal with a historical building that houses an important collection of paintings by developing a design solution for the Metzler Hall,” says Max Hollein, Director of the Städel Museum.

The newly designed Metzler Hall will be accessible to the public for the first time on the occasion of an event in the “Standpunkte zur Kunst” (Positions on Art) series on December 7, 2011. On December 20, 2011, Demand will talk about his installation with Dr. Martin Engler, head of the contemporary art department, in the Städel.

The illusion of heavy brocade conveyed by the magnificent curtain’s velvety shimmer is broken as soon as the observer approaches the (as it turns out, completely flat) wall piece with its deliberately unaltered creases, folds, and imperfections. What is to be seen is the reproduction of a paper model of the curtain to a scale of one to one set up and photographed in a studio. The picture was printed on a textile wall covering of synthetic fiber in a transfer process. The printed cloth was stretched over upright panels mounted to the wall by means of magnets. For several years, curtains have featured more and more prominently in Thomas Demand’s works. In the past, real curtains were part of the general mise-en-scène of the artist’s photographs.

The installation in the Städel’s Metzler Hall makes the curtain itself the subject of the work. Its elegant drapery endows the room with an equally intimate and magnificent setting which masterly plays with the observer’s illusion and may also be read as a quote-like allusion to a number of paintings in the Städel’s collection: Demand’s “Saal” not only refers to the drapery and materiality of early Netherlandish paintings, for example, which rank among the highest achievements of European art, but also to the trompe l’oeil technique of the ancient world – an illusionistic method applied in painting and in architecture – rediscovered in the Renaissance era. One may also associate the work with Gerhard Richter’s “Großer Vorhang” (Large Curtain, 1967), an almost monochrome work that seems to depict the drapery of a gray textile. Last, not least, the material character of the textile wall cover recalls Blinky Palermo’s “Stoffbild” (Fabric Picture) from 1970. Thomas Demand’s intervention provides the Metzler Hall, which has become the interface between old and new art in the Städel’s new presentation in the course of the extension measures, with an aesthetic framework that makes the room a clear bridge between tradition and the present as a conceptual work of art and a historicizing festival hall all in one.

Information:, [email protected] Telephone: +49(0)69-605098-0, fax: +49(0)69-605098-111

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *