Thomas Struth Guggenheim Bilbao
The images of Thomas Struth receive their signature character from the questions he asks himself — and his viewers — about the relevance of public space, the unifying momentum of family ties, the significance of nature and culture, and the limits and possibilities of new technologies. Struth succeeds in transforming fundamental themes, such as the instability of social structures and the fragility of human existence, into images of formal elegance that elicit the audience’s participation and empathy. Observers are thus transformed from viewers into partners, investigating these same social, ethical, and humane values. Thomas Struth offers a comprehensive journey through more than four decades of work by the pioneering German photographer that highlights the social concerns that have driven the evolution of his influential art over the many stages of his career.
This presentation connects Struth’s initial concepts—seen in the archival material that the artist has collected over the years—to his well-defined groups of finished works, from his first series, Unconscious Places, to his Family Portraits, Museum Photographs, Audience, New Pictures from Paradise, and This Place. These establish a dialogue with other works, such as Berlin Project, a video conceived in 1997 in collaboration with media artist Klaus vom Bruch, and the landscape and flower photographs created for the wards of Lindberg hospital, later compiled in the monograph Dandelion Room, as well as the most recent groups Nature & Politics and Animals.