On view as part of the Immersive Spaces exhibition at HoMA, Thomas Struth’s large-scale photograph titled Paradise 33, Kaua‘i (Hawaiian Islands) is nearly six feet tall and bursting with arboreal detail: sprawling branches and layers of leaves, with streams of light filling between them. Taken on Kaua‘i in 2006, Struth’s piece is placed in the middle of the gallery and calls the viewer to devote more than just a moment’s glance.

A radical departure from the German photographer’s famed work focusing on humans and human-made structures, Struth’s Paradise series is composed of expansive photos taken in the depths of lush forests around the world that seem to lack a single focal point. The images contain dense textures and detail that form an impenetrable view of leaves and branches–creating an increasingly enveloping feeling as one gazes into the photograph.

“Struth thought of these works as trying to capture the stillness that was at the beginning of the world or as reflecting moments of meditation and stillness. I feel this piece is powerful in that it brings the outdoors into the gallery, creating a bridge of sorts between the world that humans have affected and the world that exists outside of our intervention” states HoMA’s Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Katherine Love.

As a nod to the meditative quietness found in the depths of nature, Struth’s capture of these elusive landscapes provides an intentional space for introspection.

In an Artforum interview, Struth explains “[The photographs] present a kind of empty space: emptied to elicit a moment of stillness and internal dialogue. You have to be able to enjoy this silence in order to communicate with yourself–and eventually with others.”

In an ongoing effort to inspire transformative experiences that create an impact beyond the museum grounds, HoMA continues to embrace the idea that thoughtful engagement with art can initiate reflection, conversation, and positive change in the community.

Explore Thomas Struth’s “Paradise 33, Kaua‘i (Hawaiian Islands)” at the Immersive Spaces exhibition on view until February 23, 2020.

Thomas Struth (German, born 1954)
Paradise 33, Kaua‘i (Hawaiian Islands), 2006
Chromogenic print
Gift of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2011
and gift of Thomas Struth and Tara Bray Smith (TCM.2009.13.1)