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Thomas Struth

Photographs Become Pictures (group show)
Städel Museum, Frankfurt a.M.
27 April - 13 August 2017

Thomas Struth, Zhejiang Zhong Lu, Shanghai 1997. © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Zhejiang Zhong Lu, Shanghai 1997. © Thomas Struth

One of the most radical changes in art’s relation to its aesthetic, media, and economic contexts is closely associated with the names Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Thomas Ruff, Jörg Sasse, and Thomas Struth – but even more so with the names of their teachers, Bernd and Hilla Becher. This group of artists – to which names like Volker Döhne, Tata Ronkholz and Petra Wunderlich should be added – formed the first of a long line of ‘Becher Classes’ at the Düsseldorf Art Academy.

“Photographs Become Pictures. The Becher Class” brings together over 150 major works, some in large format, by these important artists, as well as a selection of their early works. This generation not only shaped the international photography scene of the 1990s, they went one further, and helped to transform the way artistic photography is perceived. Their visual creations make arguments in both formal and conceptual terms, interrogating human beings in their natural and cultural habitat, investigating their immediate surroundings and their private and global dimensions, examining their principles of social and aesthetic organisation. For all the heterogeneity of these artists’ work, their oeuvres are always characterised by an ambivalent relation to painting, shifting between appropriation and differentiation. Their works are an expression of a self-conscious emancipation of photography as an artistic medium, while also reflecting the (not merely digital) moment, when the boundaries between these two previously competing media dissolve.

Städel Museum, Frankfurt a.M.


Additional:

Thomas Struth

The Power of Images (group show)
MAST Foundation, Bologna
3 May - 24 September 2017

Thomas Struth, Hot Rolling Mill, ThyssenKrupp Steel, Duisburg 2010, 2010 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Hot Rolling Mill, ThyssenKrupp Steel, Duisburg 2010, 2010 © Thomas Struth

The MAST Foundation presents an exhibition of images from its collection of industrial photography. Sixty-seven authors from the 1920s up to the present time show, with more than one hundred works – some of which made up of dozens of snapshots – the disruptive power of the photographic language in its many meanings.

The exhibition is a celebration of images, a pictorial epic, a dance of visions from the world of industry which parade before our eyes, a visual abundance of insights into heavy manufacturing, machine industry, digitalisation, and throw-away society. The perspectives of sixty-seven photographers guide us through the realm of production and consumption, showing us the extraordinarily rich visual world of labour, factories and society.

The exhibition traces central spaces in the industrial-technological system, it touches upon social and political questions, but rather than simply identifying hard facts the images attempt to depict more extensive, deeper connections, to present us with complex dimensions, also implying an emotional involvement.

MAST Foundation, Bologna


Günther Förg, Thomas Struth et al.

Shared Space: A New Era (group show)
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield
1 October 2017 - 22 April 2018

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Shared Space: A New Era, an exhibition of photographs and video from 1987 through 2010 that considers the world’s social, economic, and political climate over the past thirty years and how the growing impact of technology during this time, with radically increased and diversified communication, has introduced a new phase of globalization. This exhibition has been curated by Lillian Lambrechts from the Bank of America Collection and is on loan from its Art in our Communities® program.

Shared Space features contemporary artists from twelve countries: the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. These artists capture myriad spaces for communication and interaction—urban and rural landscapes, homes and backyards, city streets and plazas, and ports and terminals. The exhibition’s point of departure is 1987, a seminal year that marks the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and soon thereafter the fall of the Berlin Wall, events marking the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new age of international exchange.

Sze Tsung Leong’s cityscapes illustrate the impact of a global economy. Thomas Ruff’s and Günther Förg’s photographs show the rapid transformation of the built environment through images of Modernist architecture constructed upon utopian ideals, now derelict and failing to realize its original intention. Photographs by Raghubir Singh, Thomas Struth, and Massimo Vitali depict masses of people gathering in public spaces from Los Angeles to Vietnam, and the Netherlands—expressing an unprecedented universality of access to information. Despite the interconnectivity of this time, a distancing and disconnect remains between individuals and groups, near and afar, as evidenced in Ben Gest’s Jessica & Samantha (2003), family members in close physical proximity who seem deeply psychologically distanced from one another. Shared Space reminds viewers of their place in the world and their role and impact on current global and interpersonal affairs while also provoking them to consider how they will contribute to “shared space” in the future.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield