Thomas Demand: L’Esprit d’Escalier

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 This exhibition presents an overview of the work of one of Germany's most innovative contemporary artists Thomas Demand.  L’Esprit d’Escalier comprises 19 large-scale photographic pieces, plus a new screening device, designed by Caruso St. John Architects, London, specially for this exhibition at IMMA to show the work Rolltreppe (Escalator), 2000. Ranging from 1995 to date, the exhibition presents such familiar works as Archiv (Archive), 1995. Others have never been shown before - including Landing, 2006, Demand’s photographic response to a mishap in January 2006 at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge when a visitor fell down a staircase, crashing into three 18th-century oriental vases, among the most important artifacts at the museum, smashing them into hundreds of pieces. Another new work being shown for the first time is Shed, 2006.  

The intriguing title of the exhibition, L’Esprit d’Escalier, derives from the French phrase which literally means ‘wit of the staircase’ and refers to the regret one feels after missing an opportunity to deliver a witty comeback or parting shot.

The exhibition is accompanied by this full-colour publication, produced in association with Walther König Books, and includes a new text by Dave Eggers Fictional Episodes from the Life of Thomas Demand amongst a number of newly commissioned texts by Ulrich Baer, Professor of German and Comparative Literature, New York University; Paul Oliver, author and professor; Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, curator, critic and Professor of Modern Irish at University College Dublin, and Rachael Thomas as well as a previously published text from Girl with Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace, and an afterword by Enrique Juncosa, then Director, IMMA.