Andreas Gursky - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne

  • Exhibited

    Hamburg, Deichtorhallen, Amsterdam, De Appel Foundation, Andreas Gursky: Fotografien 1984-1993, February – July, (another example exhibited); Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Andreas Gursky: Images, July-August 1995, (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    R. Schmitz, Andreas Gursky Fotographs 1984-1993, Munich, 1994, p. 117 (illustrated); F. Bradley, ed., Andreas Gursky: Images, July-August 1995, p.45 (illustrated); A. Gursky, “The Big Picture – Interpretation of Andreas Gursky’s Photographs Critical Essay”, ArtForum, January, 2001

  • Catalogue Essay

    Gursky repeatedly uses a number of interrelated formal elements in various very different motif series. These elements both underpin the composition and at the same time analyze what the artist sees. One noticeable technique, for example, is the use of an unusual degree of light, something prevalent in a large number of Gurksy’s works. This produces an atmosphere of peace and relaxation, which is additionally reinforced by the fact that the people in these pictures are either waiting or looking for something, and thus appear in the role of passive actors or as minute details.

    Another remarkable feature of Gursky’s work is his predilection for the ‘all
    over,’ for compositions which display a regular rhythm and fill the entire
    surface of the picture, particularly when the artist turns his attention to
    buildings, urban landscapes, or views inside factories or exchanges. This is
    especially true in cases where, in the final analysis, the individual tends to
    shrink to insignificance in the face of the architecture which is the concrete
    manifestation of economic interests, production mechanisms, or capital
    investments. Here, the individual is presented either as one of a mass of
    countless, identically dressed figures, behind windows, which are always the
    same, or in the impenetrable jungle of interlinked machinery.

    Despite his analytical view of mankind and society, Gurksy always remains
    indulgent. If he wanted to focus on all the harsh social realities of the
    conflict between the individual and the constraints imposed on us by the
    political or economic system in which we live he would portray man as a
    slave of the machine. He would demonstrate how the masses are suddenly
    overpowered by strategies of enticement and how it is the torrents of capital
    which control us, rather than we who control the stock exchanges. But this
    is not the case. In Gursky’s photography the tragic element is missing.
    Instead, the artist maintains an ironic distance. Normally man is viewed as
    part of the whole and not as an instrument. Wherever he appears, within the
    confines of a building or standing between machines, as a part of a group or
    within a magnificent landscape, it is never the case that he is completely
    dominated by his surroundings; he knows how to assert himself as an
    individual and his integrity remains intact.
    M-L. Syring, Andreas Gursky Photographs form 1984 to the Present, 1998,


Grundig Nürnberg

C-print in artist’s wooden frame.
68 3/4 x 86 5/8 in. (174.6 x 220 cm).
Signed, titled and dated “Andreas Gursky Grundig Nürnberg 1993” and numbered of five on the reverse. This work is from an edition of five.

£50,000 - 70,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £60,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm