The Hollywood blockbuster Kong: Skull Island (2017) portrays a group of explorers on a swampy island inhabited by giant, hostile creatures. A photojournalist, played by Brie Larson, often pauses to take a snapshot of the action. As she holds up her camera, we see the scene through her lens, tightly framed. And as the shutter clicks, the film freezes into a still picture. The message is clear: Photographs stop time, transforming the flux of experience into a fixed image.

 

“The size of the work affects its reception, offering two different experiences: One immersive, one intimate.” – Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

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What if a photograph didn’t freeze time, but expanded it? In 2014 Andreas Gursky made a series of superhero photographs, directly alluding to Hollywood as a sibling artform—if not a rival. In SH IV (2014), the actor Tobey Maguire stands in a Tokyo shop window, staring into the street at his alter ego Spiderman. The picture proposes two possible viewpoints. The inner life of Peter Parker (or Maguire, or any normal citizen), and the external world of public space, the world of action. But the real star in this picture is the architecture: Windows stretch upwards into the sky, implying countless different lives and viewpoints. There is no motion in the photograph. Instead, the presence of time is implied—the experience of moving your eyes upwards, over the gridded building, conveys a sense of duration. Space becomes time.

Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014
Inkjet-print, Diasec
307 × 226 × 6.2 cm (framed)
120 7/8 × 89 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)
© the Artist and [Spider-Man] © Marvel

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
SH IV, 2014 (detail)

Details
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What if a photograph didn’t freeze time, but expanded it? In 2014 Andreas Gursky made a series of superhero photographs, directly alluding to Hollywood as a sibling artform—if not a rival. In SH IV (2014), the actor Tobey Maguire stands in a Tokyo shop window, staring into the street at his alter ego Spiderman. The picture proposes two possible viewpoints. The inner life of Peter Parker (or Maguire, or any normal citizen), and the external world of public space, the world of action. But the real star in this picture is the architecture: Windows stretch upwards into the sky, implying countless different lives and viewpoints. There is no motion in the photograph. Instead, the presence of time is implied—the experience of moving your eyes upwards, over the gridded building, conveys a sense of duration. Space becomes time.

“Let’s start from the beginning again, Jeff. Tell me everything you saw. And what you think it means.” – Lisa Fremont, Rear Window

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

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Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
C-Print, Diasec
187 × 431.2 × 6.2 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 169 3/4 × 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 (detail)

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In 2003 the art historian Michael Diers wrote an essay comparing Gursky’s iconic Paris, Montparnasse (1993) to both Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio (1494) by Giovanni Mansueti. All three artworks depict a world of windows and multiplicity.

 

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Giovanni Mansueti
Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio, c. 1494

Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Giovanni Mansueti
Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio, c. 1494

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Alfred Hitchcock
Rear Window, 1954

Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Alfred Hitchcock
Rear Window, 1954

Architecture is, of course, one of Gursky’s favorite subjects. Taipei (1999) has an atmosphere of condensed space, with just a few figures visible, while May Day V (2006) features hundreds of revelers (including the artist himself) dispersed across the gridded façade of the high-rise building. For Diers, the overabundance of windows and frames in Paris, Montparnasse and Rear Window offers an example of what the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bahktin called “chronotopos,” or “spacetime.” Diers then introduces art historian Wolfgang Kemp’s notion of “narrative architectures,” an adaptation of Bahktin’s theory, which describes the presence of parallel narratives and simultaneous scenes in a single picture.

 

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Taipei, 1999
C-Print, Diasec
117.3 × 149.5 × 4.5 cm (framed)
46 1/5 × 58 4/5 × 1 3/4 inches (framed)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

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“In a way, the reading of the pictures is the same. Even if it’s a really big picture, if you want to get the details, you have to approach the picture and you read the picture line by line, and the same if you read a very tiny picture. For in a way, the tiny picture could be a detail of the big picture, no?” – Andreas Gursky

Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006
C-Print, Diasec
322.8 × 217.9 × 6.2 cm (framed)
127 × 85 3/4 2 3/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
May Day V, 2006 (detail)

Details
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1 of 1

“In a way, the reading of the pictures is the same. Even if it’s a really big picture, if you want to get the details, you have to approach the picture and you read the picture line by line, and the same if you read a very tiny picture. For in a way, the tiny picture could be a detail of the big picture, no?” – Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Kreuzfahrt (Cruise), 2020
Inkjet-print, Diasec
228 × 468 × 6.7 cm (framed)
89 3/4 × 184 1/4 × 2 5/8 inches (framed)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

Gursky’s monumental new photograph Cruise (2020) is a vision of the twenty-first century sublime. The cruise ship, still in the process of being constructed, is unimaginably huge, a world unto itself. Yet there are worlds within worlds, a vast “narrative architecture,” and there are even figures visible in the windows, as is the case with Paris, Montparnasse or May Day V. Likewise, each window creates a frame, a lens through which passengers can view and comprehend the outside world. If, as Goethe famously observed, architecture is frozen music, Cruise allows us to experience architectural space as a spatial form that moves through time, like a piece of music. Linger in the details and there are pictures within pictures, notes within bars, chords, melodies and intimate moments. Repetitive, polyphonic and rhythmic, the pictorial space unfolds in time like a minimalist symphony.

 

“My ‘decisive moment’ sometimes stretches on for days or months and appears to be reproducible at any given moment, appears to stop time or, one might say, to stretch it into infinity.” – Andreas Gursky

Brie Larson in Kong: Skull Island, David Hemmings in Blow Up, James Stewart in Rear Window

The cinematic trope of the photographer, in films such as Kong: Skull Island, Rear Window or Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966), sets up a tension between cinema—or moving pictures—and still pictures. Photographs in these films freeze a moment in time and offer way to examine historical evidence. L.B. Jeffries, the photographer in Rear Window, seems bemused by his neighbors’ lives, until he suspects that one of them is a murderer. At that point, the camera becomes a way to gather proof. In Blow Up, the narrative shifts in tone from hedonistic romp to detective tale when the protagonist examines the details of a photograph and spots the trace of a body. In the age of the smartphone, however, the difference between casual snapshot and historical document, between proof and private entertainment, has collapsed. Everyone is now a photographer, if not a filmmaker. Private pics and amateur videos are part of the daily news. As a billion shutters click across the planet every second, this ubiquity of image-sharing, according to Gursky, “changes the way we see.”

Details

Brie Larson in Kong: Skull Island, David Hemmings in Blow Up, James Stewart in Rear Window

The cinematic trope of the photographer, in films such as Kong: Skull Island, Rear Window or Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966), sets up a tension between cinema—or moving pictures—and still pictures. Photographs in these films freeze a moment in time and offer way to examine historical evidence. L.B. Jeffries, the photographer in Rear Window, seems bemused by his neighbors’ lives, until he suspects that one of them is a murderer. At that point, the camera becomes a way to gather proof. In Blow Up, the narrative shifts in tone from hedonistic romp to detective tale when the protagonist examines the details of a photograph and spots the trace of a body. In the age of the smartphone, however, the difference between casual snapshot and historical document, between proof and private entertainment, has collapsed. Everyone is now a photographer, if not a filmmaker. Private pics and amateur videos are part of the daily news. As a billion shutters click across the planet every second, this ubiquity of image-sharing, according to Gursky, “changes the way we see.”

“The film has long since inscribed itself in our cultural memory. And this goes far beyond individual film quotations, but concerns our aesthetic perception in general. But alongside the classic cinema format, new forms have also developed; films and clips are streamed to smartphones, which also changes the way we see. That’s why the smartphone is increasingly serving as a source of inspiration for me, and I’m getting more and more involved with this medium.” – Andreas Gursky

Shot from a train zipping through Tokyo, Mobile No 3 (2017) captures an intimate fragment of the modern cityscape. Tokyo (2017), by contrast, shows a kaleidoscopic array of rooftops, facades and windows across a large swathe of the city. At a width of almost four meters, the scale of Tokyo, not to mention its multifaceted and allover composition, recalls many of Gursky’s panoramic visions, including Cruise. There is even a figure in one of the windows, his head tilted in a contemplative pose. But the foreground is distinctly blurred, a clue that the picture was taken from the window of a speeding train, if not influenced by the experience of taking—and viewing—photographs on a smartphone.

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

More views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Mobile No 3, 2017
Inkjet-Print, behind glass
95.3 × 78.1 × 4 cm (framed)
37 1/2 × 30 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Details
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Shot from a train zipping through Tokyo, Mobile No 3 (2017) captures an intimate fragment of the modern cityscape. Tokyo (2017), by contrast, shows a kaleidoscopic array of rooftops, facades and windows across a large swathe of the city. At a width of almost four meters, the scale of Tokyo, not to mention its multifaceted and allover composition, recalls many of Gursky’s panoramic visions, including Cruise. There is even a figure in one of the windows, his head tilted in a contemplative pose. But the foreground is distinctly blurred, a clue that the picture was taken from the window of a speeding train, if not influenced by the experience of taking—and viewing—photographs on a smartphone.

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Tokyo, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm (framed)
93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

“Recently, I’ve been working with unsharpness. I was on a road trip with my wife, driving to Utah. Like any tourist, I was impressed by the landscape. One day I took pictures with my iPhone as we drove. I liked them. When we arrived at the hotel, I said to my wife: ‘OK, tomorrow you drive and I’ll try to get similar images at a higher resolution with my professional equipment.’ The resulting image—of a flat, dry landscape with mountains in the distance—is mostly out of focus, though the resolution is high. It has a completely different perspective to my earlier works, which are sharp throughout.” – Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

More Views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017
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
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017
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
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Utah, 2017
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
Inkjet-print, Diasec
225.6 × 457.6 × 6.4 cm (framed)
88 7/8 × 180 1/8 × 2 1/2 inches (framed)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

As Gursky’s anecdote about how he made Utah suggests, the smartphone has become a kind of sketchbook for the artist. Utah has all the blurriness of a casual snapshot, yet at a scale to match his panoramic vision, the picture offers a rich tapestry of the American west. What we might normally consider a weakness of amateur photography—a shutter speed too slow to capture the image clearly—is here transformed into a new conception of visual experience. Ralf Rugoff, in his essay for Gursky’s Hayward retrospective, argues that “Utah is not just a somewhat painterly epic landscape … but a trenchant reflection on the medium’s changing relationships with the world of forms and the forms of the world.”

 

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

More Views
Details
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007
C-Print, Diasec
237 × 333 x 6.4 cm
93 1/4 × 131 × 2 1/2 inches

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007 (detail)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007 (detail)

Andreas Gursky
Kathedrale I, 2007 (detail)

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Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky, SH IV, 2014. Chapel windows, Chartres Cathedral, c. 1210–25

In Gursky’s Kathedrale 1 (2007), a picture that happens to share a birth year with the first iPhone, we see a stretch of uninterrupted stained-glass windows from the interior of Chartres cathedral. In the bottom right-hand corner, a film crew (helmed by director Wim Wenders) is preparing to shoot a picture, or perhaps a scene in a movie. Placed side by side, there are formal similarities between SH IV and a stained-glass window from Chartres. The viewer’s eye travels along the cellular structure of the building just as your eye would travel over a series of pictures in a stained-glass window. They are both forms of “narrative architecture.” Likewise, your eye moves from cabin to cabin in Cruise, or from window to window in Tokyo. Both a pictorial and a literary art form, stained-glass windows are a form of proto cinema. Viewers of the windows needed to engage their imagination, string together a coherent story by generating a kind of “spacetime” between the images. Kathedrale I suggests that the tension between pictorial art and narrative storytelling—between still and moving pictures—has a deep history in European culture.

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Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky, SH IV, 2014. Chapel windows, Chartres Cathedral, c. 1210–25

In Gursky’s Kathedrale 1 (2007), a picture that happens to share a birth year with the first iPhone, we see a stretch of uninterrupted stained-glass windows from the interior of Chartres cathedral. In the bottom right-hand corner, a film crew (helmed by director Wim Wenders) is preparing to shoot a picture, or perhaps a scene in a movie. Placed side by side, there are formal similarities between SH IV and a stained-glass window from Chartres. The viewer’s eye travels along the cellular structure of the building just as your eye would travel over a series of pictures in a stained-glass window. They are both forms of “narrative architecture.” Likewise, your eye moves from cabin to cabin in Cruise, or from window to window in Tokyo. Both a pictorial and a literary art form, stained-glass windows are a form of proto cinema. Viewers of the windows needed to engage their imagination, string together a coherent story by generating a kind of “spacetime” between the images. Kathedrale I suggests that the tension between pictorial art and narrative storytelling—between still and moving pictures—has a deep history in European culture.

Königsbergerstrasse, diptych (2020) may not immediately bring to mind a work by Andreas Gursky. Instead of an expansive view of a landscape or a building, we see two pictures of a woman playing a game in a domestic space. Moreover, the photographs resemble the kind of private snapshots uploaded onto social media platforms. Look closely, however, and you might discern a few of Gursky’s key themes: Architecture, duration, entropy, frames, the tension between pictorial space and the potential for narrative. But here the artist introduces a sense of playfulness, even absurdity. A woman, with a box over her head, stands on a sofa, reaching to the peak of a toy construction that resembles the Tokyo or Eiffel towers. In the second picture (if we read left to right), she leans forward, attempting to place a block of wood atop the structure. Is this a metaphor for the precarious state of the planet? What happened before the first picture, and what will happen next?
 
We will never know. There is no before or after. Part of the pleasure of pictorial art is the information it withholds. For all its apparent simplicity, Königsbergerstrasse, diptych (2020), opens up an infinite “spacetime” for the viewer’s imagination. Only the viewer can complete the tower, or bring it crashing down to earth.

 

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

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Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020 (detail)
Inkjet-print, behind glass

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020 (detail)
Inkjet-print, behind glass

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020 (detail)
Inkjet-print, behind glass

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020 (detail)
Inkjet-print, behind glass

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky – Space is Time
Andreas Gursky – Space is Time

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Andreas Gursky
Königsbergerstrasse, diptych, 2020
Inkjet-print, behind glass
each 76.9 × 62.9 × 4 cm (framed)
each 30 1/4 × 24 3/4 × 1 5/8 inches (framed)

Details
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