curated by Urs Stahel
The MAST Foundation presents a selection of large colour images by the German photographer Thomas Struth. The images, shot in industrial and scientific research sites throughout the world, represent the cutting edge, experimentation and innovation in human activity.
“In 2007, I began research on a new corpus of works entitled Nature & Politics, which calls into question the relationship between these two categories and technological development as a unique promise of human progress”, says Thomas Struth, one of the most renowned artists on the international scene.
The exhibition is a journey of discovery into places to which the general public generally has no access, and it provides a glimpse of the unknown world behind technological innovation. The artist has photographed space research laboratories, nuclear power plants, operating rooms, and drilling platforms with painstaking care, detached curiosity and an ability to observe the characteristics of spaces, workstations and infrastructures to which researchers no longer see. Thomas Struth focuses on the machines as tools to transform contemporary society, and records the concealed influence that advanced technologies have on our existence.
In the video projection Read This Like Seeing It for the First Time from 2003, the artist documents five classical guitar lessons held by Frank Bungarten at the Lucerne School of Music, illustrating the close interaction between teacher and students, the necessary exchange between teaching and learning, between giving and receiving.
Thomas Struth (born in 1954) is one of the most important artists of his generation. In the 1970s, he attended the Kunstakadamie Düsseldorf, where he studied painting with Gerhard Richter, then photography with Bernd and Hilla Becher. Along with the Becher’s other students, including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Candida Höfer, he was one of the main exponents of the so-called Düsseldorf School of Photography. He rose to world fame through his photographs of urban views, family portraits, large-format images taken in museums, and his Paradise series. Since 2007, after a visit to a vast shipyard in South Korea, he has taken on and illustrated a new theme: science and technology.
Struth’s works are in the collections of the world’s most important museums.