Thomas Struth is internationally considered one of the most important artists of his generation. For the first time, his work is now displayed at the Berliner Martin-Gropius-Bau in a comprehensive review featuring approximately 37 large-format photographs from the years 2005 through 2016.
Industrial production plants, research laboratories and operating rooms, but also everyday architecture or theme parks: Thomas Struth’s Pictures explore how human ambition and imagination become spatial, objective reality. His „Nature and Politics“ suite of works shows us highly complex devices, structures and constructions that define our present, but are usually inaccessible to the public.
These pictures tell of attempts to extend the limits of what is technically possible and to exceed natural reality through artificial worlds. The artist’s fascination is not only about complex structures, but as well about the mental endeavour displayed by them. “I wanted to explore the process of imagination. (…) I am only concerned with how something that at first was only a thought materializes and becomes part of reality. ‘Picturing something,’ this expression already describes the brain’s ability to think in pictures” says Struth.
His photographs are about highly specialized imagination: Developments in space travel, plasma physics experiments or industrial facilities, such as oil rigs or blast furnaces, are products of the ideas and designs of experts. Struth’s detailed views show that these overwhelmingly complex constructions are also creations – created by humans, they raise the question of how power and striving for power is documented in objects and how they then gain political importance. The pictures explore the creation, interpretation and reinterpretation of reality, memory and experience.