Known for his immaculate photographs of environments elaborately constructed out of cardboard and paper, Demand draws on source material from historical, political and media images. The resultant work nevertheless divests the photographic image of obvious referents, reducing the real to a generic form and leaving an uneasy tension between the apparent blankness of each photograph and the loaded background which often informs it. Subject matter is desensitised and we are left with formal, empty spaces filled with inanimate objects and the deliberate use of stark lighting and bland instiututional colours adds to the unsettling appearance of each work. In the case of 'Zeichensaal' (Drafting Room), 1996, we are looking at a photograph of a life-sized reconstruction of the office of architect Richard Vorhölzer, who was responsible for the reconstruction of Munich after the Second World War.
In 'Zeichensaal', Demand creates a space which is not only empty in the sense of depopulation, but 'clean' in a more hermetic way. Even though the title implies what we are supposed to see, the austerity of the room is brought to its extreme; and although the room is filled with objects, there is an emptiness that radiates out of the image. All the objects seem stripped of their descriptive elements; words, logos, drawings, any kind of signifiers to actual objects as functioning things have been edited out of the image. The room is very symmetrical, angular with exposed framing elements showing its fragile construction. The viewer is outside looking in through the structure of a window, except here the glass is missing from the window frames, causing the viewer to question what has happened to this place. Is it under construction, or is the rest of the equipment still to arrive? The even light entering the office space from a row of windows to the left exposes the flat surfaces of all the objects. The room is separated by another wall with a window railing, which makes the onlooker wonder if everyone has fled to the back-room. Are the architects in a meeting, on a break, or have they gone missing?