artist / participant
Galerie Paul Andriesse presents a new photo series by Thomas Struth titled ‘Audience’. Struth (1954), who received his education at the Düsseldorf Art Academy under Gerhard Richter and Bernd Becher, is active since the end of the seventies and is regarded internationally as one of the most influential photographers. His early photographs of streetscapes were followed by work in different genres, such as group and individual portraits, landscapes (such as the ‘Paradise’ series about the last remaining ‘untouched’ nature) and the so-called ‘museum photos’. An extensive overview of his work travelled to different American museums in 2002 and 2003, among others to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The new ‘Audience’ series can be seen as a continuation of the well known ‘museum photos’ which Struth started in the early nineties and which were shown at Galerie Paul Andriesse in 1990. At the same time ‘Audience’ is taking a new course. Instead of different museums all over the world, the work now concentrates on one single place: the famous Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence. Initially, the focus was on the dialogue between artworks and audience, while the camera is now exclusively focused on the groups of visitors, who are wondering at one of the masterpieces in their summer outfits. The central object of their gaze is left out of the image, but exerts its influence invisibly on the postures of the body, the raised faces and the places the visitors occupy in the hall. Struth masterly exposes a complex of different relations, the relation between the visitors (in groups, couples or alone); the way people socially behave in a gallery space; the relation to the art piece (there are religious connotations, but also extreme gradations of (dis)interest). An interesting aspect in addition to this is the functioning of the worldwide tourism that so clearly comes to the front in ‘Audience’. The highlights from the Western Art History attract crowds from all four winds, but despite the presence of different nationalities the uniformity is striking. Clothingrules (sandals, t-shirts) and rules of conduct have become universal in the mean time. These extremely concentrated photographs show that both the seemingly banal and beauty can go surprisingly hand in hand with moments of a very personal experience.
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Thomas Struth: Audience