Efeu [Ivy] appears to be a photographic rendering of a lush growth of ivy consuming a wall. This rendering is more dense than usual but the design of ivy growing up a wall has been a popular theme in wallpaper for many years. Ivy patterns are rather casual, relaxing, non-offensive, a design that is rarely questioned. This design, however, does have a darker side. As with many of Demand’s works, this is actually a reconstruction of his own creation, which was then photographed and manipulated to create a repeating pattern. While the foliage in this wallpaper may appear to be real, it is actually a photograph of a recreation made from torn paper and cardboard.
Thomas Demand is an internationally known photographer from Germany who has a unique approach to his work. Demand receives inspiration from images found in the media, and while he tends to focus on violent or grim situations, the act of violence is absent. The photo may look innocent or ordinary but there is usually a story to tell. This ivy pattern was inspired by a series of photographs documenting the life cycle of the Klause Tavern in Germany, a building where the abuse and murder of a little boy may or may not have taken place. One of the few continuities running throughout this series of photos was the ivy growing on the building.
Demand was involved with the production of this paper from start to finish. There is some leeway in the speed at which the roll of paper can pass through the printing machines. The faster the paper goes through the press, the less time the pigment has to dry before the next color is printed, causing increased color bleeding. After testing different speeds, he selected the optimum speed to produce his desired amount of bleeding.
He studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and at Goldsmiths College in London. He originally studied sculpture and later pursued photography as a medium. In 1993 he began joining these two very different media by constructing the scenes he wished to photograph.