Andreas Gursky

Germany, 1955

Andreas Gursky is one of the most prominent contemporary artists in the domain of photography. Best known for his monumental prints documenting spectacles of commerce and consumption, Gursky translates the magnitude of organised urban life into compositional elements on the picture plane. His distinctive style is borne out of an exacting methodology; adopting a centred, elevated vantage to the effect of order and symmetry, and then digitally retouching images to accumulate details into a complex whole.  The image is invariably panoramic, akin to a omni-observant bird’s eye view. Gursky’s photographs relieve us from the role of the participant to that of an observer; in an instant, the everyday and the overlooked are charged by an anthropological appreciation of the bigger picture.  Working on sites ranging from the stock exchange to 99-cent stores, the man-made islands of Dubai to the dumps of Mexico City, Gursky most incisively captures contemporary life with the formality of a landscape.

Born in Former East Germany in 1955, Gursky attended the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and later the distinguished Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, studying under the renowned Bernd and Hilla Becher. His work is held in the collections of major institutions, namely the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Kunsthaus, Zurich; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gursky has exhibited extensively in major galleries and museums worldwide, from the Kunstmuseum Basel to the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan. A retrospective surveying nearly two decades of Gursky’s work was organized by MoMA, New York and toured Madrid, Paris and Chicago. His work has also been presented at the Venice Biennale (1990, 2004), the Internationale Foto-Triennale in Esslingen (1989, 1995), as well as the the Biennale of Sydney (1996,2000).

An acclaimed master of the “Dusseldorf” school, Gursky is a leading artist in forwarding the photographic medium in contemporary art. At the time of writing, Gursky holds the record for the highest auction price for a singular photograph; Rhein II fetched $4.3 million at Christie’s in November 2011. The artist lives and works in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Image: Photo by Hp Schaefer