Following the completion of the Museum Photographs with the series of works made at the Museo del Prado in 2005, Struth began to consider the possibilities for a new body of work which could combine his fascination with complex visual structures with his ongoing interest in the structures and technologies humankind is able to imagine and build.

In March 2007 Struth went on a first trip to South Korea. He spent time in the two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, as well as visiting religious and cultural sites, important landscapes and shipyards. At the vast DSME shipyard on Geoje Island, one of the largest in the world, he photographed tankers under construction and an immense semi-submersible drilling rig. Struth made two further visits to South Korea in 2008 and 2010, as well as visiting Pyongyang in North Korea for the first time. Intrigued by the technological prominence of NASA, Struth also twice visited the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

On his first visit in 2007, he toured the NASA Space Museum and was struck by the immensity of the programme over the past fifty years and the collusion of science, politics and power in the American space project. On a subsequent visit he gained access to working areas of the NASA complex, for example the workshops where the space shuttles are repaired between missions.

The visits to NASA and to several sites in Korea threw into sharper focus Struth’s interest in photographing “places which are at the crossroads of technology and ambition, where the limits of what is possible are continually being tested. I ask myself to what extent is this activity about ambition and power, how entangled has it become with political structures, and what are the consequences?”

He expanded his research to encompass a wide range of sites where teams of specialists are working at the cutting edge of new technologies. These have included research laboratories and industrial complexes in Germany: the Max Planck Institutes for Plasma Physics in Greifswald and Garching; the nuclear power plant Würgassen in Beverungen, which is currently being dismantled; the ThyssenKrupp steel plant in Duisburg-Bruckhausen; as well as sites in Greece, Argentina, North and South Korea, Israel, Scotland and the United States. Some of the works picture complex and purely functional configurations of technical connections and share formal similarities with the Paradise series.

The new body of work can be seen to extend Struth’s interest in “a scale of human endeavour, belief, organisation and also possible hubris. There is something epic in the work of the space shuttle programme, as there is in the building of a mediaeval cathedral. They are both complicated structures made by human beings by hand.” To make “condensed representations” of these hugely complex constructions, to show the immensity of imagination and skill needed—and that they are indeed man-made—Struth wanted the pictures to be, like his earliest street photographs, largely devoid of people. The prints of the restoration of the Endeavour space shuttle and the semisubmersible rig in Korea are amongst the largest Struth has New Works has made to date.

Semi Submersible Rig
DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island
2007

Cat. 10011
Chromogenic print
279,5 x 349,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, WGL, MSP

Drydock
DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island
2007

Cat. 10021
Chromogenic print
218,8 x 272,5 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND

Parkview Apartments
Seongnam
2007

Cat. 10111
Chromogenic print
177,5 x 235,4 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ


Space Shuttle 1
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
2008

Cat. 10131
Chromogenic print
197,3 x 374,7 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, WGL, MSP


Vehicle Assembly Building
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
2008

Cat. 10161
Chromogenic print
224,3 x 178,5 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, MSP

Stellarator Wendelstein 7-X Detail
Max Planck IPP, Greifswald
2009

Cat. 10171
Chromogenic print
160,0 x 209,5 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, WGL, MSP

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Interior 2
Max Planck IPP, Garching
2009

Cat. 10181
Chromogenic print
141,6 x 176,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, MSP


Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Periphery
Max Planck IPP, Garching
2009

Cat. 10191
Chromogenic print
109,3 x 85,8 cm

EXHIBITED: KHZ, KND, WGL, MSP

Reactor Pressure Vessel Phaseout
AKW Würgassen, Beverungen
2009

Cat. 10201
Chromogenic print
167,5 x 301,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND


Distillation Column
Gladbeck
2009

Cat. 10221
Chromogenic print
120,0 x 96,0 cm

EXHIBITED: WGL

Seamless Tube Production
Tenaris Siderca, Buenos Aires
2009

Cat. 10251
Chromogenic print
167,5 x 210,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND, MSP

Chemistry Fume Cabinet
The University of Edinburgh
2010

Cat. 10271
Chromogenic print
120,5 x 166,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND, WGL, MSP


Grazing Incidence Spectrometer
Max Planck IPP, Garching
2010

Cat. 10291
Chromogenic print
115,1 x 144,0 cm

EXHIBITED: WGL, MSP


Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Interior 1
Max Planck IPP, Garching
2010

Cat. 10661
Chromogenic print
275,8 x 225,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND, MSP


Curved Wave Tank
The University of Edinburgh
2010

Cat. 10681
Chromogenic print
208,1 x 153,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND


Ulsan 1
Ulsan
2010

Cat. 10711
Chromogenic print
167,5 x 265,0 cm

EXHIBITED: KND, WGL, MSP


Ulsan 2
Ulsan
2010

Cat. 10721
Chromogenic print
159,5 x 323,7 cm

EXHIBITED: KND, WGL, MSP
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