Thomas Demand to create art project in Sydney

Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand is creating an installation of his "Dailies" photographs in the Commercial Travellers's Association in Sydney



Following in the footsteps of contemporary artists including Gilbert & George, Jeff Koons, John Baldessari and Michael Landy, the German artist Thomas Demand is creating a John Kaldor public art project, due to open in Sydney on 23 March (until 22 April).

Demand plans to hang his new work “The Dailies”—a series of photographs printed using an old dye transfer technique—in hotel rooms in the Commercial Travellers’ Association, housed in the 1970s high-rise MLC Centre, which was designed by the late Australian architect Harry Seidler.

Commandeering 15 first-floor hotel rooms of the travellers’ association, which radiate out from a circular hallway, Demand will subtly change their interior design and hang one photograph from the series above each single bed. The hotel will be open to the public.

The former fabric manufacturer John Kaldor, who donated his $35m contemporary art collection to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2008, says that Demand had spotted the MLC Centre when he was in Sydney to find an appropriate site for his project.

Kaldor had shown Demand everything from warehouses to public housing, but Demand found the Commercial Travellers’ Association annex when he was walking back to his hotel one night. Seidler would be “thrilled”, says Kaldor. “It’s very touching—Harry was one of my closest friends.”

For his Kaldor project, Demand has two collaborators: Miuccia Prada, who has created a scent for the hotel rooms, and writer Louis Begley, who has developed a short story. Each room will contain a fragment of the story, placed where the standard hotel information is normally displayed.

Kaldor has been collecting Demand’s work for 20 years, and the two men are good friends. “He’s not only a great artist, but he’s also one of the most intelligent artists I have ever met. He’s extremely focused in what he does,” says Kaldor.


By Elizabeth Fortescue