Andreas Gursky. Photo: Ralph Goertz

 

Andreas Gursky (*1955) is considered one of the most important photographers in the world, an artist who has expanded the boundaries of the photographic medium like few before him. His complex, large-format images—some of which have attained iconic status—show spectacular landscapes and elaborate interiors, combining technical virtuosity with a painterly eye. His work casts a relentless gaze on the age of globalization, rigorously dissecting the effects of modernity. The Dusseldorf-based artist has been associated with the gallery since 1993.

 

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Gursky attended Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a student of Bernd and Hilla Becher. The Becher’s expansion of the photographic medium to include ideas and approaches from conceptual art had a lasting influence on his work. Even early works show Gursky stringently pursuing a project that he himself once referred to as an “encyclopaedia of life.” While photographs such as Klausen Pass (1984), Düsseldorf, Airport, Sunday Walkers (1985) and Niagara Falls (1989) resemble landscape images at first, these are landscapes charged with the fantasies of tourism and leisure culture, infused with the longings of people eager to escape their dull routines.

Gursky subsequently expanded his project to include a broad spectrum of global mass phenomena and their architectures, from pop concerts (Madonna I, 2001) and North Korean propaganda events (Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)) to factory buildings (Karlsruhe, Siemens, 1991), high-rise buildings (Paris, Montparnasse, 1993) and superstores (99 Cent, 1999), stock exchanges (Tokyo, Stock Exchange, 1990), industrial farms (Greeley, 2002) and solar panel fields (Les Mées, 2016). Depicting typical manifestations of late capitalist society, Gursky documents how new forms of economic organization are reflected in everyday life, and how people adjust to a world of increasingly high-tech, boundless communication.

This quasi-documentary perspective is also reflected on a formal level. The supersized photographs typical of Gursky, some of which have the dimensions of smaller cinema screens, merge a hyperreal view of the whole with an extraordinary abundance of detail. Their foreground and background have the same depth of field. It is physically impossible for the viewer to take in the entire image and its excess of meticulously-captured details all at once. They only ever see a part of the picture. The result is a dynamic that productively disrupts understanding of the image and ensures that these works elude total comprehension.

Gursky’s pronounced interest in abstract pictorial forms was already evident in his earliest photographic works. This tendency has become even stronger in recent years thanks to digital image-editing processes. Gursky employs digital techniques in a variety of ways: to remove or add pictorial elements, emphasize details, seamlessly assemble an image from smaller photographs or manipulate perspective. In general, these interventions seem to aim at overwhelming the viewer with detail, creating a particularly Gursky-esque version of the sublime. And yet the photographer also seems to pursue painterly impulses in pictures such as from the Ocean (2010) or Bangkok (2011) series. Although they remain true to the photographic medium, these works recall the visual vocabularies of Post-Impressionism or Abstract Expressionism. In this way, the photographer emphasizes an aspect that runs through his entire oeuvre: Each of his photographs also explores photography itself as a subject matter—its cultural codes, art-historical practices and various ways of creating meaning.

 

Andreas Gursky: Not Abstract
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, July 2–November 6, 2016
© IKS – Institut für Kunstdokumentation

Works
Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Amazon, 2016

Andreas Gursky
Amazon, 2016
C-print, Diasec
207 x 407 x 6.2 cm (framed)
81 1/2 x 160 1/4 x 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Kodak, 1995

Andreas Gursky
Kodak, 1995
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
107.5 × 91.7 × 4.2 cm (framed)
42 1/4 × 36 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017

Andreas Gursky
Utah
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Review, 2015

Andreas Gursky
Review, 2015
Inkjet-print, Diasec
242 x 477 x 6.5 cm (framed)
95 1/4 x 187 7/8 x 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Untitled XIX, 2015

Andreas Gursky
Untitled XIX, 2015
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 221.5 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 87 1/8 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Antarctic, 2010

Andreas Gursky
Antarctic, 2010
C-print, Diasec
249.4 × 347.4 × 6.4 cm (framed)
98 1/8 × 136 3/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)

Andreas Gursky
Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)
C-print, Diasec
296.2 × 213.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
116 5/8 × 84 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Chicago Board of Trade III, 1999/2009

Andreas Gursky
Chicago Board of Trade III, 1999/2009
C-print, Diasec
223 × 307 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 3/4 × 87 3/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Rhine II, 1999

Andreas Gursky
Rhine II, 1999
C-print, Diasec
206 x 356 x 6.2 cm (framed)
81 x 140 1/8 x 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Hechingen, Jockey, 1990

Andreas Gursky
Hechingen, Jockey, 1990
C-print, Diasec
205 × 268.3 × 5 cm (framed)
80 3/4 × 105 5/8 × 2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Niagara Falls, 1989

Andreas Gursky
Niagara Falls, 1989
C-print, Diasec
278.7 × 221 × 6.2 cm (framed)
109 3/4 × 87 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Bochum, University, 1988

Andreas Gursky
Bochum, University, 1988
Inkjet-print, behind glass
90.4 × 121.2 × 4.5 cm (framed)
35 5/8 × 47 3/4 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989

Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989
C-print, Diasec
221.2 × 276.7 × 6.2 cm (framed)
87 × 109 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Details
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Amazon, 2016
C-print, Diasec
207 x 407 x 6.2 cm (framed)
81 1/2 x 160 1/4 x 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Amazon, 2016
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Kodak, 1995
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
107.5 × 91.7 × 4.2 cm (framed)
42 1/4 × 36 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Kodak, 1995
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Utah
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Review, 2015
Inkjet-print, Diasec
242 x 477 x 6.5 cm (framed)
95 1/4 x 187 7/8 x 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Review, 2015
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Untitled XIX, 2015
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 221.5 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 87 1/8 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Untitled XIX, 2015
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Antarctic, 2010
C-print, Diasec
249.4 × 347.4 × 6.4 cm (framed)
98 1/8 × 136 3/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Antarctic, 2010
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)
C-print, Diasec
296.2 × 213.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
116 5/8 × 84 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Pyongyang VI, 2017 (2007)
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Chicago Board of Trade III, 1999/2009
C-print, Diasec
223 × 307 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 3/4 × 87 3/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Chicago Board of Trade III, 1999/2009
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Rhine II, 1999
C-print, Diasec
206 x 356 x 6.2 cm (framed)
81 x 140 1/8 x 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Rhine II, 1999
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Hechingen, Jockey, 1990
C-print, Diasec
205 × 268.3 × 5 cm (framed)
80 3/4 × 105 5/8 × 2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Hechingen, Jockey, 1990
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Niagara Falls, 1989
C-print, Diasec
278.7 × 221 × 6.2 cm (framed)
109 3/4 × 87 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Niagara Falls, 1989
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Bochum, University, 1988
Inkjet-print, behind glass
90.4 × 121.2 × 4.5 cm (framed)
35 5/8 × 47 3/4 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Bochum, University, 1988
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989
C-print, Diasec
221.2 × 276.7 × 6.2 cm (framed)
87 × 109 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989
Details
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Current and Upcoming
Andreas Gursky
Thomas Ruff / VG Bild-Kunst

Subjekt und Objekt. Foto Rhein Ruhr
Bernd & Hilla Becher, Andreas Gursky, Astrid Klein, Andrea Robbins / Max Becher, Thomas Ruff
Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
May 5–August 16, 2020

In light of recent developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), exhibitions, events and talks are subject to change.

The exhibition presents central positions from three generations as well as similarities and differences between the artistic approaches, with a focus on positions that have received less attention. Subject and Object. Photo Rhine Ruhr with about 100 artists and more than 600 works undertakes a dialogic and thought-provoking examination of this development for the first time.

Link

Andreas Gursky
Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig – MDBK, Leipzig
December 5, 2020–April 4, 2021

Andreas Gursky was born in Leipzig in 1955, the same year his family fled to West Germany and later settled in Düsseldorf. The connection to Leipzig was never severed but it is only this autumn that the internationally celebrated artist will finally be honored with a retrospective of his work in his native city at the Museum der bildenden Künste.

Link
Andreas Gursky
photo credit: Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst
Exhibitions at Sprüth Magers
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
September 12–November 14, 2020
Berlin

In September 2020, Andreas Gursky will present a major new body of work. Directing his attention towards international politics and environmental crises, including sustainable and ethical treatment of animals, Gursky continues to expand his “Encyclopedia of Life.”

Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
April 15–June 21, 2014
London

From the moment he started making photographs to the present day, the landscape has captivated Andreas Gursky. This exhibition is the first to focus on a group of important early landscapes from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Predating Gursky’s extensive use of digital technology, and characterised by what the artist has called an ‘extraterrestrial’ perspective, the pictures are titled simply and directly after the geographical location where they were taken.

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Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
May 1–June 21, 2010
Berlin

This series of new works by Andreas Gursky represents an important new development in his practice in which the artist reassesses the way he works with photography.

Like many of Andreas Gursky’s works, the new, six-part series Ocean I-VI (2009-2010) goes back to a spontaneous visual experience. As the artist relates, while flying one night from Dubai to Melbourne he stared for some time at the flight monitor: the Horn of Africa to the far left, a tip of Australia to the far right – and there in between the blue void. Then all of a sudden he saw the graphic representation on the monitor as a picture.

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Andreas Gursky
March 22–May 12, 2007
London

This inaugural exhibition of recent works by Andreas Gursky is also the artist’s first UK show since the Serpentine Gallery exhibition in 1998 and is being held jointly with White Cube at Mason’s Yard.

Gursky’s sumptuous large scale photographs of mass events, stock exchanges (of which Kuwait Stock Exchange is the most recent), futuristic architecture and altered landscapes address 21st century concerns such as capitalism and globalisation, the place of the individual in the technological age and man’s impact on the natural environment.

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Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
July 17–October 16, 2004
Cologne

Andreas Gursky
November 8, 1996–January 11, 1997
Cologne

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky
November 12, 1993–January 15, 1994
Cologne

Press

Konstruierte Realität: Andreas Gursky
Frankfurter Rundschau, article by Sebastian Borger, November 2, 2018

Andreas Gursky Is Taking Photos of Things That Do Not Exist
The New York Times, article by Farah Nayeri, January 29, 2018

Andreas Gursky: ‘The perfect image is not something that can be taught’
Financial Times, article by Liz Jobey, January 12, 2018

Vier Kanzler sehen rot
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, article by Niklas Maak, October 15, 2015

Best to approach Gursky’s photos with a painterly eye
The Japan Times, article by Mathew Larking, April 23, 2014

Gursky Earth
ZEIT Magazin, article by Christoph Amend, April 29, 2010

Biography

Andreas Gursky (*1955, Leipzig) lives and works in Dusseldorf. Solo exhibitions include his retrospective and the reopening of the Hayward Gallery, London (2018). As well as exhibitions at the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2014) and at the National Art Center, Tokyo (2013), Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf (2013) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2012). A solo exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York toured to Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; MCA, Chicago and SF MOMA, San Francisco (2001). His first retrospective Retrospektive 1984–2007 was shown at Haus der Kunst, Munich and toured Istanbul Modern to Sharjah Art Museum (2007) and from Ekaterina Foundation, Moscow to National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2008). Another exhibition Andreas Gursky: Werke 1980–2008 at the Museum Haus Esters Haus Lange, Krefeld (2008) travelled to Moderna Museet, Stockholm and at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2009).

https://www.andreasgursky.com/de

Education
1985 Master Student with Bernd Becher, Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf
1980–87 Class of Bernd Becher, Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf
1977–80 Folkwang Hochschule (GHS), Essen
Teaching
2010–18 Professor of Liberal Arts, Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf
Awards, Grants and Fellowships
2018 Großer Kulturpreis der Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Rheinland
2008 Kaiserring der Stadt Goslar, Goslar
2003 Wilhelm-Loth-Preis, Darmstadt
1998 Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize
1991 Renata-Preis
1990 Stipendium für Zeitgenössische Deutsche Fotografie. Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung
1989 1. Deutscher Photopreis der Landesgirokasse Stuttgart
Public Collections
Amore Pacific Museum of Art, Seoul
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Astrup Fearnly Museet, Oslo
De Pont, Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam
Dib Bankgok. Contemporary Art Museum, Bangkok
Frieder Burda Museum, Baden-Baden
Folkwang-Museum, Essen
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur
Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow
Glenstone Foundation, Potomac, MD
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Harvard Museum, Cambridge
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City
Kunstmuseum Basel
Kunstsammlung NRW, Dusseldorf
Kurpfälzischem Museum Heidelberg
LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Moderna Museet Stockholm
Musée de La Roche-sur-Yon, La Roche-sur-Yon
Museum Gertsch, Burgdorf
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
National Museum of Art, Osaka
National Portrait Gallery, London
Neues Museum, Nuremberg
Palm Springs Art Museum, CA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
PinchukArtCentre, Kiev
Reina Sofía, Madrid
Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Schauwerk, Sindelfingen
Seattle Art Museum
Sintra Museum, Lisbon
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf
St. Louis Art Museum, MO
Tate, London
The Broad, Los Angeles
The National Art Center, Tokyo
Vancouver Art Gallery