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Thomas Struth


Born 1954, Geldern, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; lives and works in Berlin and New York City.


Thomas Struth’s midcareer retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, showed the creative range that has made him one of the foremost photographers working today. Through studying with painter Gerhard Richter and photographer Bernd Becher, Struth developed strong visual and conceptual roots. Struth often works in series to document a variety of subjects such as portraits, urban scenes, and rain forests. In one of his best-known series, the Museum Photographs, he captured visitors admiring great works of art. In such projects, Struth's work examines both a sense of transience and timelessness in contemporary culture.


The work of Thomas Struth is held in the permanent collections of many museums and institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

“[In Struth’s] ongoing series of photographs of jungles and forests,… the artist confronts the Edenic. His Paradise is neither lost nor won—it has no innocence to lose. Rather, pluralized in a series on images, it embodies a phenomenon of viewing: the gaze losing itself in the branches only to be thrown back onto itself. Struth paces the borders between cultures…Faced with a reticent image of undifferentiated foliage, the viewer’s thoughts have nowhere to turn save inward. In these photographs, Struth encounters the limits of nondiscursive photography that de-emphasizes its specific object through the motif…This approach further highlights his particular ‘painterly’ manner in the context of contemporary German photography…Paradise has always been the fictive point of departure for a transformed view of the world. Changed, we grow toward ourselves—and each other—out of the picture’s jungle.


(Hans Rudolf Reust, “1000 Words: Thomas Struth,” Artforum, May 2002. p 151)

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