Photographer Thomas Struth: Culture Defends the Freedom of Mind | Louisiana Channel



“What are they afraid of?”
We went to see German star photographer Thomas Struth in his Berlin studio and met a man both concerned and enraged about the ongoing attacks on our liberal values and democracies.

“Culture, concerts, theatre, dance, music, and museums bring people together to have a shared experience about something that is not clearly defined. It is free-floating, and that is a democratic quality.”

“It’s an acknowledgment of a community to try to understand life by seeing other interpretations of life. Interpretations that are not yours.”

Struth witnesses attacks on cultural institutions all over the world and sees both art, artists, and cultural institutions like museums as prime defenders of democratic rights and values:

“Right-wing institutions try to control culture because of its free-floating opinions. They want to control arts and culture. Often I think: What the f… are they afraid of? But this is what they are afraid of. They are afraid of the freedom of mind.”

Thomas Struth was born in 1954 in Geldern, Germany, and studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He was part of the first generation of artists to study photography with Bernd and Hilla Becher. Comprehensive solo exhibitions of Struth’s work have been presented at institutions including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Museum Folkwang in Essen and Haus der Kunst in Munich. Between 1993-1996 Struth was the first Professor of Photography at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. Struth was awarded the Spectrum International Prize for Photography by Kulturstiftung Lower Saxony. He is an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Struth’s work is featured in various public art collections, including Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Tate Gallery, London, the Galleria d’Accademia, Florence, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The artist lives in Berlin.

Thomas Struth was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in November 2022. The interview took place in Struth’s studio in Berlin, Germany.

Camera: Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022

Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling, and Fritz Hansen.

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