Pergamon Museum I, Berlin
Thomas Struth ( German, 1954 )
In this work, a cast of characters Thomas Struth "directed" mills around in the Pergamon room of the famous museum in the former East Berlin. This is the largest group Struth has worked with to make one of his Museum Photographs, the renowned series that has brought the artist great acclaim since the mid-1990s. People gaze at vast buildings, staircases, and sculpture that once were part of the acropolis of the city of Pergamon of antiquity; seated on stairs (something not normally allowed), standing about in the middle of the room, or gazing at some far-off sculpture, Struth's viewers enact their own tableaux as if they themselves are friezes come to life. The giant scale of the space is brought to human scale as the figures take the place of their ancient counterparts. Yet this massive and ancient building is set within a museum whose modern skylights and windows define that space, sealing one age within another. Such paradoxes of ancient and modern, public and private, staged and spontaneous are often found in Struth's work.
Charles Wylie, DMA unpublished material, 2002.