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Thomas Struth

Nature & Politics (solo show)
Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis
5 November 2017 - 21 January 2018

Thomas Struth, Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Interior 2, Max Planck IPP, Garching, 2009 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Interior 2, Max Planck IPP, Garching, 2009 © Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics is a photographic exploration of cutting-edge industrial and scientific research spaces. In over 35 works created within the past decade, the celebrated German artist Thomas Struth ambitiously takes technology and engineering as his overarching subject. With vivid color and monumental scale, he investigates the fascinating complexities of sites where knowledge, ambition, and imagination are advanced.

The featured works are drawn from the artist's visits to Europe, America, Asia, and the Middle East. Struth takes viewers into spaces normally kept from public view, such as aeronautical centers, robotics laboratories, and nuclear fusion facilities, examining humanity's attempts to understand and harness forces of nature, often at great cost of resources.

Nature & Politics intersperses Struth's technological subjects with other recent work, including images of the fantasy environments of Disneyland and the war-torn landscapes of the West Bank. This poses intriguing questions about the relationship between nature and humanity in our increasingly fabricated world, as well as drawing attention to the financial and political ambition that underscores the massive technological endeavors of our present day.

Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis


Additional:

Thomas Struth

Nature Unleashed: The Image of Catastrophe since 1600 (group show)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
29 June - 14 October 2018

Thomas Struth, Louvre 4, Paris 1989, 1989 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Louvre 4, Paris 1989, 1989 © Thomas Struth

In a large-scale exhibition spanning several epochs, the Hamburger Kunsthalle traces based on important works how artists working in different media picture natural catastrophes while also shedding light on humanity’s failure to come to terms with nature due, among other things, of our faith in technology. Nature Unleashed: The Image of Catastrophe since 1600 features approximately 120 exhibits, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, films and videos. As viewers make their way past blazing fires, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and sinking ships, they will take note of pictorial constants in the expression of such disasters but will also become aware of the differences in depiction from one era to the next. The show’s special appeal lies in the close juxtaposition of artworks created centuries apart. The trajectory of exhibited works spans an arc from the years around 1600 to the present day. Contemporary works serve to anchor the theme in the here and now and underline its topicality.

Catastrophes are omnipresent. The media constantly reports on natural disasters, acts of war, political upheavals and other crisis scenarios, characterising them all with the common term “catastrophe”. Catastrophes don’t just happen, they are made. It is only in our perception, in our active engagement with such drastic events that they take on distinctive contours and reveal their typical face. Every age makes its own catastrophes and redefines the criteria by which certain events are labelled as such. These fundamental observations form the basis for the exhibition project.

Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg


Thomas Struth

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture (group show)
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill
18 March - 17 June 2018

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture is a comprehensive survey that explores the dynamic relationship between architecture, photography, and the viewer. Seen through the lens of historical and architectural photographers from the 1930s to the present, Image Building offers a nuanced perspective on how photographs affect our understanding of the built environment and our social and personal identities. The exhibition features 57 images that explore the social, psychological, and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretation of those who captured it.

Organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Ph. D, Image Building brings together works by 19 renowned, under-recognized, and emerging artists ranging from early modern to contemporary architectural photographers. In addition to photographs, Image Building includes ephemera such as magazines and books that illustrate how the meaning of photography shifts when presented in the context of high art or mass culture. 

Organized thematically into Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, the exhibition examines the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban, and rural environments, looking at influences, similarities and differences. By juxtaposing these photographs, Image Building creates a dialogue between the past and present, revealing the ways photography shapes and frames the perception of architecture, and how that perception is transformed over time.

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill


Günther Förg, Thomas Struth et al.

Light Sensitive 2: Photography from the Schaufler Collection (group show)
SCHAUWERK, Sindelfingen
15 April 2018 - 6 January 2020

Thomas Struth, Grosse Tannen Am Eschberg - N°13, Winterthur 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Grosse Tannen Am Eschberg - N°13, Winterthur 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth

Contemporary photography from the Schaufler Collection will be on display from September 2017 at the SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen. The museum will link this show to the LICHTEMPFINDLICH exhibition of 2011, which had presented the large collection of this medium to the public for the first time in the impressive space of the former high rack warehouse in the SCHAUWERK. This lofty storage space inspires with its revolving ramp, which extends over 15 metres upward: an exhibition place par excellence for photography, with spectacular visual axes for viewing from near and afar.

Along with major works from the first exhibition, LICHTEMPFINDLICH 2 will also display photographs that previously haven’t been shown, so that a more comprehensive representation of the contemporary photography collection can occur. The main interest of the collectors Peter Schaufler and Christiane Schaufler-Münch is not directed toward the medium and its history per se, but leans more toward the fascination that arises from certain motifs, pictorial inventions, and their formal transformations.

The classic genres of photography—nude, portrait, landscape, architecture, or industry—are mirrored in the works, but are often citations or stages of conceptual processes. Most of the protagonists within the context of this collection have left behind the conventional framework of photography.

SCHAUWERK, Sindelfingen