© Thomas Struth, 2018

Paradise 06, Daintree, Australia 1998

ArtistThomas STRUTH
Material/ Techniquechromogenic print
Size/ DurationH176.7×W221.3cm (frame)
Copyright Notice© Thomas Struth, 2018
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in Geldern, Germany in 1954. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany and New York, USA.

Initially aspiring to become a painter, Thomas Struth studied under Gerhard RICHTER at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He later started taking photographs and in 1976 transferred to the photography course established at the academy, where he studied under Bernd and Hilla BECHER. He photographs city streets, family portraits, visitors standing in front of famous paintings in art museums using a large-format camera. By capturing various scenes and situations from the same angle and according to the same rules, he exposes the emotional, cultural, and social connotations of each and the differences between them, as well as the complex relationship between subject and photographer, artwork and viewer.

“Paradise” is a series that began in 1998 that uses dense forest in places like Australia, Japan, and China as a motif. Confronted with photographs whose surfaces are covered with huge amounts of information in the form of greenery, the viewer is unable to focus their thoughts or emotions, which dissipate. They become aware of the overwhelming presence of the photographs in which spacetime has come to a standstill as well as of themselves ‘looking’ at the photographs. Here, viewers are urged to confront their inner selves in a tranquil environment, a quality of the photographs that Struth describes as “present[ing] a kind of empty space: emptied to elicit a moment of stillness and internal dialogue”. This series could be described as one that questions the essence of perception and expresses clearly the concept of ‘unconscious space’ that Struth has been pursuing throughout his artistic career.