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Vera Lutter, Thomas Struth et al.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now (group show)
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
9 March - 19 May 2019

Thomas Struth, Pergamon Museum 1, Berlin 2001, 2001 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Pergamon Museum 1, Berlin 2001, 2001 © Thomas Struth

Civilization: The Way We Live Now presents nearly 300 works by more than 130 of the world’s most renowned photographic artists, offering a complex and sprawling vision of contemporary life. The images gathered here, produced in the past 25 years, speak to the changes brought about by globalization, and draw attention both to the increasing amount of complexity and conflict, and to the unprecedented degree of interdependence, that characterize life today. They attest, as well, to the development of the medium of photography, and its ability to document these sweeping changes. Organized in collaboration between UCCA and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, the Beijing presentation of Civilization is curated by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell.

In his 2011 book, Civilization, the historian Niall Ferguson notes: “These days most people around the world dress in much the same way: the same jeans, the same sneakers, the same T-shirts… It is one of the greatest paradoxes of modern history that a system designed to offer infinite choice to the individual has ended up homogenizing humanity.” This paradox lies at the core of “Civilization,” which strives to explain the “complex whole” that is modern society, in all its spiritual and material richness. The photographers in this exhibition depict, reveal, examine, criticize and otherwise reflect our hyper-modern and complex social terrain, from Edward Burtynsky’smassively transformed landscapesto Lauren Greenfield’s revealing urban portraits,from Toshio Shibata’s highly ordered tableaus to Xing Danwen’s electronic pollution.

The exhibition is divided into eight sections. “Hive” explores the systems of cohabitation and collaboration that have developed in urban settings. “Alone Together” documents the solidarities and estrangements found within communities, as well as the effect of the internet on sociality. “Flow” testifies to the accelerated production and widening wealth gap in the post-industrial world. “Persuasion” explores the power of symbolic capital, from marketing strategies to consumption habits, from religious beliefs to personality cults. “Control” examines humanity’s ability to create order, resolve disputes, and organize political and social structures. “Rupture” focuses on the breakdown of this order, and the conflicts between individuals and collectives. “Escape” follows the ascent of recreational culture, where relaxation, entertainment, adventure, and thrill-seeking offer freedom from the given. Finally, “Next” presents visions of the future, questioning teleological narratives of development.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing


Additional:

Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth (solo show)
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
4 October 2019 - 19 January 2020

Thomas Struth, Kyoko and Tomoharu Murakami, Tokyo 1991 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Kyoko and Tomoharu Murakami, Tokyo 1991 © Thomas Struth

A comprehensive journey through more than four decades of work by the acclaimed German photographer Thomas Struth (b. 1954), this exhibition will offer examples of the different stages of his work and the social concerns that have driven the evolution of his influential art. With more than 130 works, the exhibition, first seen at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, is the most extensive showing of his artistic career to date and contains early works that have never been exhibited before. Research materials from his archive will also help to present the ideas he has been working on for the past years

This meticulously composed presentation connects Struth’s initial ideas to his well-defined groups of works, such as Unconscious Places, Portraits, Museum Photographs, New Pictures From Paradise and Places of Worship. Thus establishing a dialogue with other works such as Berlin-Project, a video work conceived in 1998 together with media artist Klaus vom Bruch, or with the most recent photo series Nature & Politics as well as with the landscape and flower photographs created for the wards of Winterthur Hospital, later compiled in the monograph Dandelion Room (Löwenzahnzimmer). These relations between works highlight Struth’s ability to combine analysis with photographic creation in the multiple subjects and techniques that he applies to produce astonishing and powerful photographic images.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


Thomas Struth

Composition 19. Thomas Struth at the Hilti Art Foundation (solo and curated show)
Hilti Art Foundation, Vaduz
12 April - 6 October 2019

From 12 April until 6 October 2019, the Hilti Art Foundation is presenting works of the German artist Thomas Struth (* 1954) from its collection that focus on civilisation and nature, technology and culture.

In this self-curated show, Struth combines his photographic works with paintings and sculptures from the Hilti Art Foundation collection, placing them for the first time in a direct iconographic and aesthetic context with artworks from the late 19th and 20th century. In so doing, he also expresses his high regard for the artists he has selected and also for the Hilti Art Foundation collection.

Hilti Art Foundation, Vaduz


Thomas Struth

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits (group show)
Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
16 March - 14 July 2019

Thomas Struth, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor Castle 2011, 2011 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor Castle 2011, 2011 © Thomas Struth

Tudors to Windsors traces the history of the British monarchy through the outstanding collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.  This exhibition highlights major events in British (and world) history from the sixteenth century to the present, examining the ways in which royal portraits were impacted by both the personalities of individual monarchs and wider historical change. Presenting some of the most significant royal portraits, the exhibition will explore five royal dynasties: the Tudors, the Stuarts, the Georgians, the Victorians and the Windsors shedding light on key figures and important historical moments. This exhibition also offers insight into the development of British art including works by the most important artists to have worked in Britain, from Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz.

Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo


Thomas Struth

Titian and the Renaissance in Venice (group show)
Städel Museum, Frankfurt
13 February – 26 May 2019

Thomas Struth, Galleria dell’Accademia 1, Venedig 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Galleria dell’Accademia 1, Venedig 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth

In the spring of 2019, the Städel Museum will devote itself to one of the most momentous chapters in the history of European art: Venetian Renaissance painting. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the artists of the lagoon city – first and foremost the young Titian (ca. 1488/90–1576) – developed an independent strain of the Renaissance relying on purely painterly means and the impact of light and colour. This new approach caused a sensation in Venice, and its exponents were soon spreading the innovations outside the city republic as well. In the 1540s, yet another highly talented young generation – now embodied by Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese – came on the scene to vie for commissions in Venice.

In its various sections the exhibition introduces selected characteristic aspects of Venetian painting from the sixteenth century – for example the atmospherically charged landscape depictions that heralded landscape painting as a genre in its own right, the ideal likenesses of beautiful women (“Belle Donne”), or the importance of colour for the art of the Venetians. With more than a hundred masterworks from international collections, the show is the first in Germany to present a first-rate, thematically structured panorama of Venetian Renaissance painting.

The large-scale exhibition features more than twenty examples by Titian alone – the figure who held the key position in the Venetian art scene all his life – and thus the most extensive selection of his works ever before on display in Germany. It also presents works by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516), Jacopo Palma il Vecchio (1479/80–1528), Sebastiano del Piombo (ca. 1485–1547), Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480–1556/57), Jacopo Tintoretto (ca. 1518/19–1594) and Paolo Veronese (1528–1588). The exhibition offers comprehensive insights into the artistic and thematic spectrum of the Renaissance in Venice and elucidates why so many widely differing artists of later centuries looked back to works of this period again and again for orientation.

Städel Museum, Frankfurt


Thomas Struth

Nature & Politics (solo show)
MAST Foundation, Bologna
2 February - 22 April 2019

Thomas Struth, Nature & Politics, installation view, MAST Foundation, Bologna, 2019. © Fondazione MAST
Thomas Struth, Nature & Politics, installation view, MAST Foundation, Bologna, 2019. © Fondazione MAST

The MAST Foundation presents a selection of large colour photographs taken by Thomas Struth from 2007 on at industrial sites and scientific research centres throughout the world that represent cutting-edge technological experimentation and innovation.

One of the best known artist on the international scene, Struth takes us in realms and forbidden zones to which we do not normally have access, giving us a glimpse into the unexplored world behind technological innovation in 25 large-format works on display at the MAST PhotoGallery. Space research labs, nuclear power plants, operating rooms, and drilling platforms are photographed with painstaking precision, detached curiosity, and a remarkable visual sensibility.

The artist focuses on machines as tools transforming contemporary society and shows us scientific, highly technological experiments, developments, research, calibrations and interventions that will at some point, directly or not, intrude into our lives and have an impact. In these images we perceive all the complexity, importance, and force of the processes, but we can also sense the power and the politics of knowledge, and the business they conceal.

MAST Foundation, Bologna