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.

In Niagara Falls (1989), a boatload of tourists, draped in black rain gear, appears to be heading directly into a section of the falls where the white crashing water has obliterated any legible detail. If this photograph depicts a sublime landscape, Mettmann, Autobahn (1993) shows instead a calm, bucolic scene intersected by silver-grey bars. At first glance, the bars look like they were inserted into the photograph by the artist as an extreme formal gesture, but they were already at the site, integral to a Plexiglass screen that acted as a noise barrier along the motorway. Gursky noticed this interweaving of classic pastoral and utilitarian technology while driving. In Alba (1989) the landscape is similarly ageless: a river, barely a ripple in its surface and framed by a dark forest, trickles over a stony riverbed as it has for centuries. Fishermen, dwarfed by the artist’s sweeping view of the site, wade into the water.

 

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Gursky’s early landscapes provide the viewer with the concrete experience of a specific place as well as what Martin Hentschel has called a ‘mental image … that has been passed down to us by the history of painting and inscribed into our collective memory’. The pictures conjure both a topography and a structure: Niagara Falls might be an overexposed tourist destination, but Gursky discovers a peculiar mood there. A boat transports its human freight, entranced by a white abyss, to an uncertain fate. Yet we know that these tourists won’t get swamped by the falls, however precarious they look in the picture. Moreover, the overall calm and balance of the composition has the power to counteract any overwhelming sense of threat. Likewise, even while Alba taps into our deepest sense of what a landscape might express, from ancient idylls to Caspar David Friedrich, the photograph also depicts a mundane evening in Italy. The landscape is at once itself, a specific time and place, and also something otherworldly: a picture that transcends the basic conditions of its creation.

 

Installation Views
Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Details
Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Early Landscapes
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, April 15–June 21, 2014

Details
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Exhibited Works
Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
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 – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989

Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989
C-print, Diasec
221 × 276.5 × 6.2 cm (framed)
87 × 108 7/8 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
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 – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Mettmann, Highway, 1993

Andreas Gursky
Mettmann, Highway, 1993
C-Print, behind glass (no Diasec)
182.2 x 232.8 x 6 cm
71 3/4 x 91 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Giordano Bruno, 1989

Andreas Gursky
Giordano Bruno, 1989
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
65.4 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
25 3/4 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Klausenpass, 1984

Andreas Gursky
Klausenpass, 1984
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
63.2 × 77.8 × 4 cm (framed)
24 7/8 × 30 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Ofenpass, 1994

Andreas Gursky
Ofenpass, 1994
Inkjet-print, Diasec
211.1 × 257.8 × 6.2 cm (framed)
83 × 101 1/2 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Ratingen, Schwimmbad, 1987

Andreas Gursky
Ratingen, Schwimmbad, 1987
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
62 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
24 3/8 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Krefeld, Hühner, 1989

Andreas Gursky
Krefeld, Hühner, 1989
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
65.5 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
25 7/8 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Düsseldorf, Rhein, 1985

Andreas Gursky
Düsseldorf, Rhein, 1985
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
60 × 77 × 3.9 cm (framed)
23 5/8 × 30 1/4 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Schiphol, 1994

Andreas Gursky
Schiphol, 1994
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
50.5 × 61.5 × 3.8 cm (framed)
19 7/8 × 24 1/8 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London
Andreas Gursky
Teneriffa, Schwimmbad, 1987

Andreas Gursky
Teneriffa, Schwimmbad, 1987
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
113.1 × 140.2 × 4.5 cm (framed)
44 1/2 × 55 1/8 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Details
Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

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 – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Alba, 1989
C-print, Diasec
221 × 276.5 × 6.2 cm (framed)
87 × 108 7/8 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

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 – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Mettmann, Highway, 1993
C-Print, behind glass (no Diasec)
182.2 x 232.8 x 6 cm
71 3/4 x 91 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Giordano Bruno, 1989
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
65.4 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
25 3/4 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Klausenpass, 1984
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
63.2 × 77.8 × 4 cm (framed)
24 7/8 × 30 5/8 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Ofenpass, 1994
Inkjet-print, Diasec
211.1 × 257.8 × 6.2 cm (framed)
83 × 101 1/2 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Ratingen, Schwimmbad, 1987
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
62 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
24 3/8 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Krefeld, Hühner, 1989
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
65.5 × 81.4 × 3.9 cm (framed)
25 7/8 × 32 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Düsseldorf, Rhein, 1985
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
60 × 77 × 3.9 cm (framed)
23 5/8 × 30 1/4 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Schiphol, 1994
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
50.5 × 61.5 × 3.8 cm (framed)
19 7/8 × 24 1/8 × 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Early Landscapes – London

Andreas Gursky
Teneriffa, Schwimmbad, 1987
Inkjet-print, framed behind glass
113.1 × 140.2 × 4.5 cm (framed)
44 1/2 × 55 1/8 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Details
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Selected Press

A God’s Eye View of the World
The Independent, article by Zoe Pilger, May 5, 2014

Andreas Gursky: Early Landscapes
The FT Weekend – Life & Arts, article by Jackie Wullschlage, April 19-20, 2014

Andreas Gursky’s pre-digital world
Phaidon, feature, April, 2014

Andreas Gursky Presented In Two Major London Gallery Exhibitions In April
Artlyst, feature, April 16, 2014