Book: The Dailies by Thomas Demand
The pod-like exterior of the Commercial Travellers’ Association (CTA), in Sydney’s Martin Place, is unusual and striking, but within its circular interior, artist Thomas Demand has created the poetry of the everyday; haikus of glanced objects, dreamlike scenes and liminal locations. ’The Dailies’, as the photographic installation is called, recalling the daily rushes of a feature film, takes over a whole floor of the building. Accompanying the exhibition (presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects) is a limited-edition catalogue, which Demand produced in collaboration with London-based publishers Mack Books.
Mimicking the shape of the CTA building, the substantial 32-page volume can be displayed in a circular fashion, thanks to its leporello binding. Its concertina pages, a nod to the fluted pillars which make up the base of the building, come together to form a 16-pointed star. Encased with a magnetised closing system in faux leather, ’The Dailies’ was designed by Naomi Mizusaki of Supermarket, who has worked with Demand on a number of books - such as his most recent publication, La Carte d’apres Nature.
The photographs that make up The Dailies are of cardboard and paper sculptures. Some of them - like the coffee cup caught in a chain link fence or the twist of paper trapped in a grating - speak of transient urban scenes. Other constructions (of windows, doors or changing rooms) are places of passage, not residence; as is the location of the exhibition, a members’ club for travelling salesmen.
In the CTA building, each of the photographs are framed on the wall of a different room, radiating from a circular corridor. Demand has made subtle adjustments to the contents and fittings so they complement his beautifully melancholic images of life’s lost details. The installation is a collaboration with the writer Louis Begley, author of About Schmidt, who has penned a short story about a commercial traveller’s dream-state visit to the CTA. Fragments of the story, Gregor in Sydney, are printed in each room and on the pages of the book. A unique scent has also been created by Miuccia Prada.