thomas struth captures images of desolate disneyland
(above image) ride, anaheim, california, 2013
chromogenic print
82 7/8 x 127 11/16 in. (210.5 x 324.3 cm)
edition of 6

 

 

thomas struth
marian goodman gallery, new york
now through february 22, 2014

 

 

for his current exhibition at marian goodman gallery, new york, thomas struth presents a selection of images from his opus, which seeks to dissect the fabricated landscapes of enterprise and industry. the german photographer is best known for pictures of urban city-spaces, cultural and technological sites, and architectural works, revealing the intricacies of our man-made, modern world in spectacular and infinite detail. for this solo show, struth inspects our manufactured reality in relation to culture and history, taking an archetypal site responsible for the creation of cultural dreams and imagination: california’s disneyland. typical and traditional visualizations of the iconic theme park are subverted, as the shots depict various rides, theaters, and amusement attractions without human disruption. devoid of the hoards and masses and detached from the chaos, the stills leave only the eerily vacated scenes of faux-mountian ranges, imitation pools, and plastic rocks that exist when people are not present. the artist writes, ‘in a time when information technology and the picture-making industry accelerate their efforts to bring imagination and physical reality closer together, thus turning the passive experience of watching a screen into something more bodily, I thought it would be interesting to return to this early example of the constructed imagination, disneyland.

 

thomas-struth-at-marian-goodman-gallery-designboom-10
mountain, anaheim, california, 2013 

chromogenic print

80 9/16 x 128 1/8 in. (204.6 x 325.4 cm)

edition of 6

 

 

the exhibition couples the six pictures from disneyland with examples of his previous subjects: fascinating, dynamic, and infinitely elaborate portraits of new sites of technology, which consider the structural and architectural complexity of techno-scientific spaces throughout asia, europe and the americas. in the series, robotics, machinery, and electronic industry workplaces and research facilities are acutely explored without human intervention or interruption. ‘it is clear that the contemporary human imagination is more easily fired by the pyrotechnics of science and technology rather than by the difficult, and perhaps now historically discredited, negotiation of political ideals. I wanted to open the doors to some of these unseen places in order to scrutinize what our contemporary world—what we—create, depicting plasmaphysics and chemistry, ship- and oil rig-building, space shuttle repair, architecture, etc., as what our minds have materialized and transformed into sculpture. most of these machines, tools, and objects are the results of closed-group activity, yet they affect us strongly without us ever being able to really see them.’ 

 

thomas-struth-at-marian-goodman-gallery-designboom-09
canyon, anaheim, california, 2013
chromogenic print
80 13/16 x 104 1/16 in. (205.3 x 264.3 cm)
edition of 10

 

 

although seemingly disparate in theme and visual characteristics, struth says that the two sets of work have homogenous intentions, in the end, writing ‘the surprise of what we have collectively created becomes more evident when one takes a more general perspective. showing real experimental physics, a 21st-century urban landscape, or a surgical robot in action reinforces the question: how should we judge what we see? more intimately, let us consider the vulnerability of the human body and soul under these circumstances. it’s all creation; it’s made. it’s not a given.’ click through the gallery below to view images from this series of work.

 

thomas-struth-at-marian-goodman-gallery-designboom-11
pond, anaheim california, 2013
chromogenic print
54 5/16 x 77 3/16 in. (138 x 196.1 cm)
edition of 10

 

thomas-struth-at-marian-goodman-gallery-designboom-08
cinema, anaheim, california, 2013
chromogenic print
93 x 68 1/2 in. (236.2 x 174 cm)
edition of 10

thomas-struth-at-marian-goodman-gallery-designboom-06
crack, anaheim, california, 2009
chromogenic print
24 7/16 x 37 3/16 in. (62 x 94.5 cm)
edition of 10