Thomas Struth

Year of birth, place
1954, Geldern, Germany
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Thomas Struth was born in Geldern on Niederrhein in 1954. From 1973 to 1980 he studied at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf under Bernd and Hilla Becher. From 1993 to 1996 he was Professor of Photography at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. He lives in Düsseldorf.

Thomas Struth's photography continues the realistic tradition of the »Düsseldorf School« established by his teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher. A coolly distanced, unsentimental view of the subject and the tendency to work in series characterize the endeavour to achieve an objective representation, behind which the photographer retreats. Struth has so far published four large series of photographic works: street scenes, portraits, museum scenes, and shots of flowers and landscapes (the last being made for a hospital in Winterthur). The images are distinguished by their calculated cropping and the rigour of their composition. The construction of each picture is dominated by clear central perspective, emphasized above all in the street scenes. Struth's photographic work is determined by compositional rules, but its subjects do not correspond to any predetermined hierarchy. The serial organization of Struth's work does not detract from the value and autonomy of each individual image. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1980 Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich
1987 Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne
1992 »Thomas Struth: Portraits«, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld
1993 »Thomas Struth: Museum Photographs«, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
1994 Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
1995 »Thomas Struth: Straßen. Fotografie 1976-1995«, Kunstmuseum, Bonn
1996 Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris
1997 Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Group exhibitions (selection)
1979 »Schlaglichter: Junge Kunst im Rheinland«, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn
1986 »7 Fotografen«, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich
1987 »Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1987«, Münster
1989 »Photo-Kunst - Arbeiten aus 150 Jahren«, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart
1991 »Aus der Distanz«, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
1992 documenta IX, Kassel
1993 »Fotografie in der deutschen Gegenwartskunst«, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, subsequently at Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basle; »Diskurse der Bilder«, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
1994 »Die Orte der Kunst«, Sprengel Museum, Hannover
1995 »After Art. Rethinking 150 Years of Photography«, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
1996 »Nobuyoshi Araki, Larry Clark, Thomas Struth, Christopher Williams«, Kunsthalle, Basle
1997 »Face to Face. Luo Yongjin & Thomas Struth, Photography«, Art Gallery of the Bejing International Art Palace, Peking; »Absolute Landscape: Between Illusion and Reality«, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama

[David Richardt, 1997]