Tuesday, 6 September 2011

In Paradise with Thomas Struth

Paradise is a place far removed from the mundanities of suburban life. What can I say about the urban fox that kindly chopped our garden hose up into five separate pieces last night; did he think it was a useful thing to do? Was he seeking revenge under cover of darkness for the fact that dog loves to chase around the garden by day keeping unwelcome intruders out?

I will never know, but what I can say is that I was bowled over by the Paradise series of photographs as seen at the Whitechapel Gallery and created by Thomas Struth.When I walked into the room containing enormous views of forests around the world, I was mesmerised. They are so large that the viewer can immerse themselves within the forest. There is no focal point. It felt like a form of meditation to be gazing at them. They are calming and beautiful.

Paradise 09 by Struth

 I was expecting large photographs; I knew of his work capturing the public enraptured by classical art in museums and galleries, and  was intrigued by his recent series of images from laboratories  displaying chaos amongst the order that is scientific research; they reminded me of my own desire to capture chaos in the natural world.

a fume cupboard by Thomas Struth

All of his works are on a  grand scale. The video in which he discusses his work is helpful; having watched it I would have gone round again to revisit the images with my new found knowledge had I had time. What looked like urban street views were heavy with metaphors that I had missed on first viewing. But for the Paradise series there is no need to read or understand; they are just there................. surely if you have to have work explained in great detail before getting the point, then the images are not speaking for themselves.

Paradise 15 by struth

What  I really liked about his description of the Paradise series was that he says

 " you don't have to interpret; its a way of being quiet. it's not about the vegetation, it's about the lack of focus and meaning.

 There is no "punctum" or point; they are about being in the moment, just seeing and looking, which is  what most of my photography is about. They have no point or deeper meaning, just a desire to convey a mood that nature creates.

leaves © Caroline Fraser

I leave you with some leaves floating in the water from Foots Cray meadow; they don't mean a thing...........................or do they?

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I'm studying Struth now and you seem to understand him to a T