Andreas Gursky - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Matthew Marks Gallery, Andreas Gursky, 8 May–24 June 2004 (edition unknown)

  • Literature

    Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, 2007, p. 97 (another example illustrated in colour)
    Andreas Gursky. Werke – Works 80–08, exh. cat., Krefeld, Kunstmuseum Krefeld, Haus Lange und Haus Esters, 2008, p. 205 (another example illustrated in colour)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rimini, from 2003, is a work by Andreas Gursky, one of the world’s most significant artists working in the photographic medium. He has helped to elevate photography to reach its rightful place in the word of contemporary art. Gursky’s photographs depict the images of colossal architecture and landscapes, rural and urban – they embody today’s globalised world. Be it stock exchanges, window displays, libraries, facades of buildings, town landscapes – through these images the artist recreates the map of the post-modern civilized world.

    Rimini shows the Italian shoreline from a very high vantage point, typically for Gursky who photographs from a bird’s-eye view. The tension between micro and macro that is so characteristic of Gursky’s body of work is evident in the present lot, where the grandeur of the scale of the image of the shoreline is juxtaposed to the elaborate details of the umbrellas and sun beds spread across the sand in an extremely organised manner – nothing in this, what could be thought at first, overcrowded image seems out of place, but rather flows together dynamically to create a harmonic composition. Gursky takes the natural environment of the beach but alters it, making it much organised, repetitive, with deepened colours in order to highlight the sublime in the image. The repetition of umbrellas of the same colour, most probably manipulated by the artist, fills the image with artificial infinity and allows it to develop its own dizzying dynamic. The idea of manipulating landscape could also be seen in the work of Christo and Jean-Claude, who were famous for creating temporary but overwhelming environmental works of art. Gursky’s works are highly detailed but detached, conveying no personal emotions, digitally manipulated to distance them from the imperfections of reality. Rather acting as a ‘façade’, a carefully orchestrated spectacle, these images illustrate the alienation of today’s globalized world.

    Gursky experiments with photography through his constant digital manipulation, so that the viewer is left puzzled questioning what has been changed with the help of technology and what has been left untouched, still representing the reality. Like in Montparnasse, from 1993, where one wonders if the artist has manipulated the photograph to make the apartment building look longer than it is in real life, in Rimini, one wonders if the artist perfectly situated the umbrellas along the shore, and deliberately arranged them by colour, in order to create the artificial infinity at the grand scale in his constant strive for the sublime.



colour coupler print mounted on Plexiglas in artist’s frame
297 × 207 cm (117 × 81 1/2 in)
Signed ‘Andreas Gursky’ on a label affixed to the reverse. This work is number two from an edition of six.

£400,000 - 600,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £421,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 October 2012