PRINT May 2002



With the decline of the utopian spirit and the demise of the “great narratives,” the word paradise has taken on an ironic undertone that it just can’t shake. I met Thomas Struth last winter at his apartment in the middle of Düsseldorf, overlooking a rather verdant courtyard. There we talked about his ongoing series of photographs of jungles and forests, in which the artist confronts the Edenic. His paradise is neither lost nor won—it has no innocence to lose. Rather, pluralized in a series of images, it embodies a phenomenon of viewing: the gaze losing itself in the branches only to be thrown back onto itself.

Struth paces the borders between cultures. His forthcoming retrospective will connect his various series: the famous street photographs from Düsseldorf, Rome, Edinburgh, New York, Tokyo; the individual and family portraits; and the museum pictures, begun in 1989—each of which presents

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