30 September 1999 - 26 January 2000
The current exhibition presents Thomas Struth's most recent works. Two large scale photographs are dedicated to the Duomo di Milano, the Cathedral of Milan: one image shows the majestic facade in a tight cropping with a large number of people gathering on the steps right in front of the cathedral's three main entrances. The other is an interior view of the church's central axis with the altar, enormous columns, crowded with people during a Sunday Mass. A third image depicts the interior of the Basilica di Monreale near Palermo, enterly covered with golden Byzantine mosaics and dominated by an enormous image of Christ; in the fore-ground, a guide speaks to a group of tourists. The fourth image is of a landscape detail belonging to the Buddhist Sanctuary of "The Temple of Lost Souls" in Hangzhou / China.
A large natural wall of Rock called Fei Lai Feng contains several ancient Buddha sculptures carved into the rock over the centuries and people walking by and standing around taking pictures of each other. Faith and tourism, cultural conscience and curiosity meet in these arresting images. In contrast the fifth large scale photograph depicts an unspoiled landscape of the Daintree region of northwestern Australia.
Thomas Struth was born in Geldern in 1954. From 1973 to 1980 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. In the middle of the Seventies he began making black ad white photographs of streets. With precision and sobriety, Struth catches the history and values of the inhabitants through the architecture of their cities, creating a faithful mirror of the collective unconscious.
Since the late Eighties, he explored differerent new subjects and started the famous cycle of the Museum Photographs: large scale images of museum interiors, showing figurative paintings and corresponding compositions of museum visitors. In these works Struth juxtaposes real people with painted figures, creating a historical confrontation between different cultural and artistic settings through the times; he reveals the relationship between painting and photography inside the same image.
In the recent photographs of Churches, people are shown in and around religious architecture in an intermediate stage of alienation with the original rituals, for which they were created, yet unavoidably confronted with their own culture and history.