Archive Matrix Assembly: The Photography of Thomas Struth 1978–2018 (publication)
Archive Matrix Assembly: The Photography of Thomas Struth 1978–2018 presents the first comprehensive, systematic theory of Thomas Struth’s main body of photographic work from its beginnings in the late 1970s until his most recent work in 2018. The book presents a unique, evolutionary understanding of the work, proposing that it has established three stages of production: archive, matrix, and assembly. Together the three stages form a developmental system that characterizes the individual photographs, their relation to their subject matter, and how they form larger, significant collections of images. The book project accomplishes three main goals: it develops a comprehensive critical reading of the work, it serves as a monograph of the artist, and it provides an extensive analysis of the photographs at all stages, including the less discussed, more recent photography, which is placed on par with the earlier work for which Struth first became internationally renowned.
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Thomas Struth et al.
Von Erde schöner. The collection of the MGKSiegen (group show)
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Siegen
28 May 2021 – 13 February 2022
The new presentation of the museum’s collection, “Von Erde schöner” (Prettier from Earth), continues the dialogue between the Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection and the Contemporary Art Collection at MGKSiegen which began last year. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Peter Piller’s photo series of the same name. The winner of the Rubens Promotional Award (2004) has developed his own fields of collection from a firm’s estate comprising 20,000 aerial photographs of German single-family homes. In a similar way, “Von Erde schöner” seeks connecting threads within our own collection, so highlighting a special interest in spatial themes.
The relations between natural and artificial landscapes, the relationships between people, architecture and places, and the construction of pictorial space play a role, as well as questions of distance, proximity and our personal perceptions of space. “Von Erde schöner” undertakes a cartography of the museum’s own collection. Works by Thomas Struth are included.
Rineke Dijkstra, Günther Förg, Michel Majerus, Albert Oehlen, Thomas Struth et al.
Now or Never – 50 Years LBBW Collection (group show)
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart
13 November 2021 – 20 February 2022
The LBBW art collection dates back to the year 1971. The focus of the collection was initially on art from the Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg region. At the beginning of the 1990s, the collection was expanded to include international positions. The foundation of LBBW and its development promoted the growth of the collection. “Collecting Contemporary” is the keyword today. The orientation and history of the LBBW collection show parallels to the collection of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. On the occasion of the LBBW anniversary and the long-standing cooperation with the art museum, outstanding works will be on display from all areas of the LBBW collection.
Bridget Riley, Thomas Struth et al.
Oil: Beauty and Horror In The Petrol Age (group show)
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg
4 September 2021 – 9 January 2022
No other substance has shaped societies in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as much as petroleum. Airplanes, tanks, and spacecraft, motorways, shopping malls and suburban settlements, nylon stockings, mountains of plastic, and vinyl – key materials and technologies, lifestyles and visions of our time owe their existence to the energy density and transformability of oil. Now, however, the dusk of the “petrol age” is looming, whereby neither can its end be precisely dated, nor its consequences adequately assessed. The exhibition Oil. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age therefore takes a speculative, poetic look back at the presence of the modern age of petroleum, which has lasted for roughly one hundred years. From the distance of a hypothetical future, we ask what was typical of our time, what was great and beautiful, what was ugly and terrible, and how all this is reflected in art and culture.
Fundamental here is the observation of a deep conflict: In the oil boom of the 1950s and 1960s, gasoline and kerosene, plastic, asphalt, and synthetic fibers stood for the futuristic promises of boundless mobility, individual freedom, and unrestricted transformability. Today, they are associated with global battles over resources, mountains of waste, and global warming, as well as sea and air pollution.
The exhibition focuses on all this from a fictitious archaeological distance and at the same time seeks a thematic and emotional proximity: Beyond entrenched ideology, it confronts works of art with natural science and technology, politics and everyday life, with knowledge, practices, and apparatus from chemistry, drilling, and geology, from daily working life and pop culture, from industry and cultural theory. Well-known and lesser-known works of art from the canon of Western modernism, as well as from oil-producing regions around the globe, are reappraised in the black mirror of oil and placed in relation to current artistic positions.
The exhibition focuses on the decades between the end of the Second World War and today. The cultural, technical, and geological constellations presented range, however, from the Middle Ages and antiquity to the early history of culture and life, while at the same time anticipating developments that may extend hundreds or even thousands of years into the future.
In this way, the exhibition presents the world’s first retrospective of the global modern age of petroleum.