Opening Reception: Friday, January 10th, 2014 6 – 8 pm
Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Thomas Struth which will open on Friday, January 10th and run through Saturday, February 22nd 2014.
Known for his black-and-white street scenes, family portraits, landscapes and culture-scapes, architectural photographs, museum and church pictures, Audience series, and industrial pictures, Thomas Struth’s most recent body of work, shown at the gallery in 2010, investigated the structural complexity of techno-scientific spaces throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Struth writes, “With the previous body of work my interest was initially stimulated by a strong and painful discrepancy. It is clear that the contemporary human imagination is more easily fired by the pyrotechnics of science and technology rather than by the difficult, and perhaps now historically discredited, negotiation of political ideals. I wanted to open the doors to some of these unseen places in order to scrutinize what our contemporary world—what we—create, depicting plasmaphysics and chemistry, ship- and oil rig-building, space shuttle repair, architecture, etc., as what our minds have materialized and transformed into sculpture. Most of these machines, tools, and objects are the results of closed-group activity, yet they affect us strongly without us ever being able to really see them.”
For his current exhibition Struth presents a new series of pictures in which he again penetrates key places of human imagination in order to scrutinize the landscape of enterprise, invention and digital engineering as well as the complex hidden structures of advanced technology--image makers and industry--in relation to culture and history. Taking an archetypal site for the creation of cultural dreams and imagination, one group of pictures depicts panoramic views of Disney’s theme parks in Los Angeles--an iconic place of imagination and one which has globally shaped human fantasy. A second compelling and dynamic group of works investigates new sites of technology, and provides a continuum into the charged backdrops of science and industry and our shared contemporary reality.
Struth continues, “With the new, work, I attempt to take a wider, more principled point of view. I want to reconsider how the process of imagination and fantasy works in general, how something which has built up in someone’s mind has materialized and become reality. The German expression “sich etwas ausmalen”—to paint something in one’s head—refers to the picturing capacity of the human brain. It is a condition, without which we cannot create anything.
“My thoughts about this were partly inspired by Katja Eichinger’s 2008 article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) about the altered perspective and reading of Disneyland since its beginnings in the 1950s. In a time when information technology and the picture-making industry accelerate their efforts to bring imagination and physical reality closer together, thus turning the passive experience of watching a screen into something more bodily, I thought it would be interesting to return to this early example of the constructed imagination, Disneyland.
“I went to Anaheim in 2009 to test its potential for a new body of work and returned in April 2013. My focus was particularly drawn to the ambiguity between what Walt Disney had remembered from his trips to Europe and how it was later rebuilt as a kind of latent reality in California.
“The six pictures from Disneyland I combine in my exhibition with other works I have made at various research or medical facilities in Berlin, at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and at exemplary urban locations in Ulsan, South Korea and St. Petersburg, Russia. The surprise of what we have collectively created becomes more evident when one takes a more general perspective. Showing real experimental physics, a 21st-century urban landscape, or a surgical robot in action reinforces the question: How should we judge what we see? More intimately, let us consider the vulnerability of the human body and soul under these circumstances. It’s all creation; it’s made. It’s not a given.”
- Thomas Struth, Los Angeles, December 2013
Struth’s several important solo exhibitions have included a European retrospective exhibition in 2010 to 2012 Thomas Struth, Photographs 1978-2010, shown at Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland; K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany; Whitechapel, London, UK; and the Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2010-2012), as well as an acclaimed U.S. national tour in 2002–2003, which included the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the MCA in Chicago.
Solo presentations of his work have also included over the past decade, Thomas Struth, Kunst in Weidingen, Weidingen, Germany, (2013); Thomas Struth the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece (2009); Familienleben, SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany (2008); Thomas Struth, MADRE: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy (2008); Photographs by Thomas Struth, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Symra, Florida (2007); Making Time, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain (2007); Thomas Struth: Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru (2005); Pergamon Museum, Museum für Fotografie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany (2004).
The recent publication Thomas Struth: Unconscious Places, with an essay by Richard Sennett, was published by Schirmer/Mosel 2012. This Fall group exhibitions have included Tea with Nefertiti at Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, Moving Norman Foster on Art, at Carre d’Art, Nimes, Transition Territoires #11, The Experience of Silence, BES Arte & Finance, Lisbon; and Des Images comme des Oiseaux, Center National des Arts Plastiques, Paris.
Recent and upcoming projects include an honorary residency at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles (2013-2014); and an honorary fellowship awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which will be presented in London in February. A publication titled Walking on the subject of architectural details has just been published by the LiberArs series at Ivory Press.
Forthcoming, an exhibition is scheduled for the spring/ summer of 2014 at the Ivory Press space in Madrid September 2014.
Please join us at the Opening Reception for the artist on Friday, January 10th, from 6-8 pm.
For further information, please contact the Gallery at: 212 977 7160.