Andreas Gursky - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Munich, Haus der Kunst, Andreas Gursky, 17 February – 13 May 2007 (another fromthe edition exhibited); London, Tate Modern, Global Cities, 20 June – 27 August 2007 (anotherfrom the edition exhibited); Basel, Kunstmuseum, Andreas Gursky, 20 October 2007 –24 February 2008 (another from the edition exhibited); Krefeld, Kunstmuseen, Andreas Gursky,Werke, Works, 80–08, 12 October 2008 – 25 January 2009 (another from the edition exhibited)

  • Literature

    Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., Munich, Haus der Kunst, 2007, p. 99 (another fromthe edition illustrated); Global Cities, exh. cat., London, Tate Modern, 2007; Andreas Gursky,exh. cat., Basel, Kunstmuseum, 20 October 2007 – 24 February 2008, pp. 106–07 (another fromthe edition illustrated); Andreas Gursky, Werke, Works, 80–08, exh. cat., Krefeld, Kunstmuseen,2008, p. 199 (another from the edition illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Like many of his best-known works, Gursky’s Copan engulfs the viewer in a scale that translates some of the vastness of the subjects, in this case the Edifício Copan in São Paulo. This building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1966, and it remains one of the largest buildings in Brazil. Gursky skilfully captures the scale and the sweeping curves that have come to define the architect’s career: “What attracts me is the free and sensual curve – the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman”, as Niemeyer himself has stated.

    In Gursky’s Copan, the composition incorporates various façades. The viewer’s line of sight is interrupted when the curvature of the building forces one section out of view and another in. The sharp vertical forms of the white spiral stair and lift well abruptly split and help define the composition, contrasting an intensely colourful grid-like centre section (reminiscent of a Mondrian abstract) with the restrained and monochrome horizontal lines of the brises soleils. It is a very carefully constructed composition, as with all Gursky’s images, to the extent that in Copan, he has utilized methods of manipulating the various elements: “I have consciously made use of the possibilities offered by electronic picture processing, so as to emphasize formal elements that will enhance the picture or, for example, to apply a picture concept that in real terms of perspective would be impossible to realize’ (the artist, quoted by Lynne Cooke, in ‘Andreas Gursky: Visionary (Per)Versions’, in Marie Luise Syring, ed., Andreas Gursky: Photographs from 1984 to the Present, exh. cat., Munich, 1998, p. 14).

    Gursky has long used his photographs’ subject matter to create a dialogue with painting. Through his digital manipulations of photographs and his ability to represent the modern world on such a grand scale, Gursky refutes the old argument that photography is inherently inferior to painting. The red, blue and yellow flecks of the polychrome centre section add lively, almost painterly colour and are reminiscent of the German painter Gerhard Richter’s Colour Chart paintings in their formal application. It is this approach to colour in Gursky’s photographs, together with his compositional style, that lift his work out of the topographical tradition and place it alongside the leading European artists working today.

Ο ◆22


Colour coupler print, face-mounted to Plexiglas in artist’s frame.
206 × 262 cm (81 1/8 × 103 1/8 in).
Signed ‘Andreas Gursky’ on a label affixed to the reverse.This work is from an edition of 6.

£180,000 - 250,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £217,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 October 2011