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L’Esprit D’Escalier
Thomas Demand

L’Esprit D’Escalier
Thomas Demand
Walther König


Leather hardcover
162 pages
246 x 173  mm
ISBN 9783865602107


Stairs, ladders and lifts are the motifs of Thomas Demand’s latest monograph, “L’Esprit d’Escalier,” which is published on the occasion of his show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. The title actually refers to so-called “staircase wit,” that concise French expression for the chagrin of missed retorts–those hapless comebacks one only ever thinks up belatedly (i.e. when already descending the stairs): “I should’ve said (fill in blank)!” etc. One of Demand’s ironic allusions to his title is a new work titled “Landing,” which shows the shards of broken Qing vases on a staircase–a mishap caused by a visitor to The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge in January 2006, who stumbled on his shoelaces and crashed into the three eighteenth-century vases, smashing them to pieces. As ever, Demand combines conceptual rigor and exacting craft in his painstakingly re-created sets, with their eerie edge of artifice. “L’Esprit d’Escalier” presents an overview of his current work in 23 large photographs, plus a film project and an architectural installation specially prepared for his Irish Museum exhibition. Alongside an excerpt from David Foster Wallace’s “Girl with Curious Hair,” it also includes commissioned writings by Dave Eggers, Paul Oliver, Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, David Foster Wallace, Rachael Thomas and Enrique Juncosa.


About the Artist
Thomas Demand, (b. 1964 in Munich) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künst in Munich from 1987 to 1989, and at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf from 1989 to 1992. In 1992 he moved to Paris, and the following year he attended Goldsmiths College in London. He has participated in significant group exhibitions, some of the most recent of which include: New Photography 12, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996; Stills: Emerging Photography in the 1990s, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1997; Carnegie International 1999/2000, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 1999; the travelling exhibition Mirrors Edge presented at the Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea in 2000. He had his first solo exhibition in 1991. His work has been shown at numerous museums, including Tate Gallery in London in 1999, Foundation Cartier pour lArt Contemporain, Paris, in 2000. In 2001, he showed at Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, and De Appel, Amsterdam, in 2001.


About the Publisher
Walther König is one of the most respected art book publishers in the world, they are also the proprietor of Germany’s leading art bookstores, notably the flagship shop in Cologne. Key historical publications include Wolfgang Tillmans: Manual and the ongoing Hans Ulrich Obrist Conversation Series, while many of the imprint’s most seminal books, which originated with König, have been co-published in America by D.A.P. These include Gerhard Richter: Atlas, Gerhard Richter: Writings, Raymond Pettibon: The Books, Donald Judd: The Early Works, 1956-1968 and How You Look at It.

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