Just saw the Thomas Struth exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery and feeling very inspired. I was initially drawn to Struth’s work through the ‘Making Time’ series of photographs, which have similar thoughts, themes and qualities to some of my own projects and photographic interests (not that, the latter is a prerequisite for me to like a photographer!).
The exhibition is great. It’s really interesting to see the broad picture of his work come together; Struth himself describes bringing the show together like composing a musical piece, bringing varying sections together to create a cohesive piece of work.
A lot of the photographs are of epic proportions and are a genuine thrill to view and take in. Included in the exhibition is a 40-minute video about the artist and the Whitechapel show. The film touches on a great number of intriguing point including Struth’s time at Dusseldorf under the guidance of Berd and Hilla Becher. It was particularly interesting to learn that the photographs for the ‘Making Time’ series were staged, using extras, following failed attempts at photographing the public visitors during openning hours of the location visited.
One of my favourite pieces was of an oil rig, tied to a harbor wall (‘Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island’). The photographic print is gigantic! Struth describes the photo as being similar to the idea of monsters and beasts tied up at markets in medieval tales. This colossal picture almost looms over you as you view it; the cables and ropes extend toward the viewer and give the impression of something wild and dangerous that is precariously controlled and restricted.
Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978–2010, a unique and exciting exhibition. Go see it!
Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, © Thomas Struth