Thomas Struth – Figure Ground
Haus der Kunst, Munich
May 5 – September 17, 2017

 

This major exhibition by the pioneering German photographer Thomas Struth (born 1954) presents the most comprehensive survey of his genre-defining oeuvre. Covering four decades of work and every phase of his illustrious artistic career, the exhibition focuses especially on the aspect of Struth’s social interests which represent the important forces of his internationally influential artistic development. Starting with his first series Unbewusste Orte (Unconscious Places) published in 1987 through his current works that deal with the field of research and technology in the globalized world, Struth’s work develops its own specific analytical nature through his choice of subject matter, the manner of its photographic realization and its modes of presentation. These aspirations are manifested in questioning the relevance of public space and transformation of cities, the cohesive factor of family solidarity, the importance of the relationship between nature and culture, and exploring the limits and possibilities of new technologies. The momentum of participation further characterizes these aspirations, as Struth’s extensive pictorial inventions and strategies allow individual interpretation based on collective knowledge.

In this exhibition, early works and research materials related to the artist’s subject matter, and collected over several decades, are shown for the first time in the context of an exhibition, offering access and insight into Struth’s working methods. Together with the photographs, these materials elucidate his longstanding interests behind the different series, demonstrating the process of artistic translation before the perfection of the image.

Featuring around 130 works, two multichannel video installations, and a selection of archival material, the exhibition in Haus der Kunst is the largest survey of Struth’s artistic career to date. The survey links his early ideas to well-known series such as Straßen (Streets), Unbewusste Orte (Unconscious Places), Portraits, Museumsbilder (Museum Pictures), Paradise, and Audiences which are placed in dialogue with site-specific works like Löwenzahnzimmer (Dandelion Room), the landscape- and flower-photographs that were made for the patients’ rooms at the Hospital on the Lindberg in Winterthur, Switzerland. It also includes photographs recently shown in the exhibition Nature & Politics. Within this interplay, the exciting ability of the artist to combine analysis and individual pictorial invention in multifaceted works and techniques builds an overarching idea on how to deal with the elementary matters of our times.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication from Schirmer / Mosel Publishers, Munich, designed by Fernando Gutierrez, with texts by Thomas Weski, Ulrich Wilmes, Jana-Maria Hartmann, and an interview with the artist by Okwui Enwezor.

The exhibition is organized by Haus der Kunst and curated by Thomas Weski

Funding for “Thomas Struth: Figure Ground” is made possible with major support by Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung.

Special thanks for further support to:
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/London/Paris;
Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris;
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, München;
We would like to thank our shareholders:
Freistaat Bayern,
Gesellschaft der Freunde Haus der Kunst e.V.
and our major supporter: Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung
for their annual support of the program

Image:
The Faez Family, Rehovot 2009 © Thomas Struth