Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
70 x 103 in. (177.8 x 261.6 cm)
Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sanfred Koltun.
German artist Thomas Demand is often inspired by images found in newspapers and books that depict historically important events or people.
In this photograph, the artist has meticulously crafted a life-size model out of paper and colored cardboard, which he photographed and then destroyed. Demand carefully reconstructed a famous scene from the contested US presidential election of 2000 between Al Gore and George W. Bush. When irregularities in the ballot counting in Florida threw the results into question, people debated whether ballots with “dangling chads” (semi-detached bits of paper that were not separated completely when ballots were manually hole-punched) could be counted as legitimate. Flashlights stand ready to illuminate partially punctured ballots, yet the ballots are all unmarked: there is nothing to be read.