vrijdag 14 december 2018

Views & Reviews Unbewusste Orte - Unconscious Places The Becher Approach Thomas Struth Photography

Unbewusste Orte - Unconscious Places
Bern: Kunsthalle Bern, 1987. First edition. Paperback. Very Good. Tall paperbound quarto. 93 pp. Early monograph of Struth's photographs of European architecture and streetscapes with text in German and English by Ulrich Loock, Ingo Hartmann and Friedrich Meschede. Illustrated with both color and black and white photographs. Light toning to covers else a clean very good example in wide photo-illustrated bound wrappers with French flaps.

At the end of his year in New York, Struth resumed his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf during the winter of 1978. He recalls that this was the moment when he made the conscious decision to be an artist and to embrace unequivocally this decision.

Through 1979, he continued to photograph the streets in Düsseldorf and also for the first time in other European cities including Cologne, Munich, Brussels, Charleroi and Paris. After the concentrated experience of working in different parts of New York City, the process of identifying locations which expressed most clearly the nature of the city became more precise. Struth now worked with greater precision and economy. He spent more time looking for the single location which could “summarise a city” and made comparatively few photographs in each city—no more than five in Charleroi, for example, or ten in Munich.

Towards the end of 1979 Struth travelled to Paris to visit Thomas Schütte, a fellow student at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, who had a residency in Paris. Schütte suggested looking at the Beaugrenelle project in Paris, a huge urban development for mixed commercial and residential use with several distinctive high-rise towers built on the banks of the Seine in the 1970s.

The group of photographs Struth made at Beaugrenelle in 1979 and 1980 was his first work based on contemporary urban structures and reflected his interest in architecture and urban planning. In a sober and melancholy way, he traces what has become of the utopian city plans of early modernism. On this occasion, Struth photographed for the first time in both black-and-white and colour.

In 1980 Rüdiger Schöttle invited Struth to make an exhibition of the Beaugrenelle photographs at his gallery in Munich. The exhibition consisted of thirty-seven photographs, presented together with the architectural plan of the complex as well as the advertising brochures published by the developer. Struth recalls the exhibition as “quite a laconic presentation, perhaps a bit didactic but nonetheless not well understood.”

The ongoing project to investigate the differing nature of urban spaces in European cities was interrupted in the early 1980s by an obligatory period of civilian service where Struth ran a small print shop in a community centre in Düsseldorf. Following this hiatus, Struth resumed his work with a trip to Rome.

A selection of photographs of streets in Rome, Charleroi, Paris, Munich and Hamburg was presented under the title Bilder aus dem europäischen Lebensraum (Pictures from European Habitats) at his second exhibition at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle in Munich in 1985. The photographs here were no longer presented in a grid but as individual pictures.

Upon seeing his exhibition at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle in Munich in 1985, Ulrich Loock invited Struth to make a first major survey of his city pictures at the Kunsthalle Bern. The exhibition offered the first significant opportunity to orchestrate an experience of the work through a sequence of space, and in total comprised one hundred black-and-white and colour photographs. In the large central room at the Kunsthalle Bern, fourteen works which Struth considered to be “the most complete, the most emblematic, the ones which conveyed something more general about the cities they were made in— the pictures Loock and I called ‘the headlines’—were installed: Crosby Street, New York; Düsselstrasse, Düsseldorf; Rue St. Antoine, Paris. The rooms around were organised around bodies of work from different subjects: Beaugrenelle, Japan, individual buildings, etc.”

See also


Intermezzo Campo dei Fiori Rome 1984 Thomas Struth - Photographs 1978-2010 Photography

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