Thomas Struth - Galerie Max Hetzler

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present Making Time, an exhibition of recent Museum photographs by Thomas Struth taken at the Museo del Prado in Madrid in 2005. 

My work is about different situations in which people find themselves. About streets as public space, where specific and collectives attitudes affect us everyday, where architecture represents society and culture as the dynamic of a group. About private people in front of the camera and the photographer: how individual characters represent themselves; what could be deduced from them. About families and couples: what their relationship, their roles, their history might be; what the encounter between the artist and those portrayed was like on this very day when the photograph was.“ Thomas Struth During the last 18 years, Struth has been exploring the relationship between the viewer and the artwork. In the Prado series the crowds are displaying a variety of different ways of looking and seeing, and, this might be a more recent phenomenon, listening. School classes of different ages, bored adolescents and captivated visitors are mingling, talking, gesturing or being absorbed in contemplation. This new body of work consists of seven large-scale photographs and one frieze of five photographs. In Museo del Prado 5, the students seem to be absorbed with their audio guides. In Museo del Prado 8-1, everyone looks either fascinated by the painting or carefully listening to the guide, except two boys in the front. Struth never alters his work digitally. He is capturing a moment, our present time. The scenes can be clearly dated from the contemporary clothes, and the audience of the Museum creates an echo with the viewers of the photographs.

As Charlie Wylie has so aptly put it: „His works picture in formal terms (based on a rigorous aesthetic / conceptual precedent) situations of culture found all around the globe today. Struth analyzes the present with an intensely refined sense of what is worth looking at, and what is worth capturing, to plainly state the facts while forcing the eye beyond normal observations.“ (Schirmer & Mosel 2002)

A selection of these photographs is currently installed at the same location where they have been shot, in the Prado Museum, among the permanent collection of old masters. At the end of April, a new Museum wing will open, with Museum Photographs from the Prado, the Hermitage and the Galleria dell Accademia on display. During two weeks, visitors will be able to see both installations. This is the first time ever that the Prado Museum is exhibiting work by a contemporary artist.


Thomas Struth was born in 1954 and currently lives and works in Düsseldorf. He has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, at among others, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Sprengel Museum, Hanover; Carré d’Art, Nîmes; Kunstmuseum Bonn; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the National Museum of Art, Kyoto. The artist is exhibiting at Galerie Max Hetzler since 1987.