Andreas Gursky - Photographs New York Monday, March 31, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    London Projects, London
    Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris
    Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne
    Bonakdar Jancou Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Andreas Gursky: Fotografien 1994-1998, p. 51
    Mathildenhohe Darmstadt, Andreas Gursky’s Architecture, p. 6
    Tate Gallery Liverpool, Andreas Gursky: Images, p. 13

  • Catalogue Essay

    As a former student of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, German photographer Andreas Gursky has repeatedly explored a variety of themes—from consumerism to architecture—while exaggerating the sense of scale and space within each image. That is, Gursky aims to surpass the limitations of a photograph as a reproduction by printing his images on a grandiose scale that bestows them with a monumental presence, subsequently echoing the atmosphere of the spaces depicted. As a result, his works, such as Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, are not about describing a space but reliving it.

    In the current lot Gursky depicted the mezzanine hall at the famed French institution during the 1995 exhibition of the works by the architects Herzog & de Meuron. The format of the exhibition, which was designed by Swiss artist Remy Zaugg, was unusual, whereby parallel rows of low-lying display tables reflected the rows of strip lights and exposed ventilation shafts lining the ceiling above them. In fact, the exhibition resembled an assembly line at a factory more so than a traditional museum exhibition. The overall feel of the exhibition was austere and sterile, and by evoking the atmosphere of a factory Zaugg was arguably commenting on the evolution of architecture from a means of personal expression to that of mass accommodation.

    In Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou Gursky adopted a deep and perfectly symmetrical standpoint, bisecting the space into two equal plains, which subsequently produced an objective view of the scene. Additionally, by using a large-format camera Gursky was also able to produce a far wider angle than usual, which provides viewers with an exaggeratedly horizontal visual field that further accentuates the expansive exhibition space. The museum visitors that are ambling about the aisles resemble factory workers, consequently becoming enmeshed in the overall composition and atmosphere of the exhibition. This perhaps would explain why Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou is the only museum interior by Gursky with human presence. Interestingly, the longer viewers of Gursky’s work become engrossed in the image the longer they gradually become entrenched in the composition, reinforcing the strength of Gursky’s photographs in reenacting a lived experience.


Paris, Centre Pompidou

Chromogenic print.
40 x 76 3/8 in. (101.6 x 194 cm)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 1/2 in ink on the reverse of the flush-mount.

$120,000 - 180,000 

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