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Sven Lütticken

THE TWO COMPONENTS of Thomas Demand’s exhibition at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini—part of the Venice Biennale’s ever-widening slipstream—constituted something of a study in contrasts. One presented a new photographic series, and the other combined a single photograph with documentation and, for the first time, one of the artist’s sculptural models.

The series, “Yellowcake,” 2007, is business as usual for Demand, whose methods are by now well known: Working from found images, the artist creates cardboard replicas of real-world settings, which he then photographs; he exhibits the photos but typically destroys the labor-intensive still lifes they depict. Demand’s work is often legitimated by the claim that his photographs halt the automatic consumption of images via subtle abstraction and distantiation. But at least in the case of the new series, the results are much too formulaic to uphold such

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