artist / participant
He is considered one of the most important contemporary artists: the Dusseldorf-based photographer Andreas Gursky (born in 1955 in Leipzig). With an objective and precise eye, he captures the burning issues of modern life and global reality. Each overall composition is a technical and visual masterpiece that has long inscribed itself on the collective visual memory of the art world.
In addition to his commitment to color photography, Gursky's typical forms of expression are to be found in digital processing and extremely large-scale formats. In the process, his works always bear visual testimony to his decades of travel around the globe. Hence, behind his pictures is an imaginary map that traces the artist's travels. There is hardly another artist of our time so devoted to travel and it is becoming increasingly clear that Gursky has always had an eye on an exact depiction of the world, its construction and its condition. His images always reflect on both the inward and outward appearance of the world. The apparent beauty and perfection of his pictures is deceptive—it is not until after the first glance that it becomes obvious that they conceal the wealth of thought in the depicted. Gursky's images seduce through that which is portrayed but at the same time, they insist that the viewer think about the reasons behind them.
From ancient sites through contemporary scenes and political debates to fictitiously arranged fantasy worlds: Andreas Gursky's pictures also turn out to be subtle observations of the state of our globalized world. Cairo and the Pyramid of Cheops, Prada shops and Toys'R'Us, production facilities and garbage dumps, mass spectacles in Pyongyang, or at national church conferences, the subversive demonstration of power structures and global world orders, internationally active stock markets, museums as places of supposed reflection and comic heroes used to portray future worlds—all this belongs to the artist's repertoire of visual compositions.
The exhibition, which has been developed in close cooperation with the artist himself, allows the viewer to rediscover Gursky's fascinating cosmos of images in a kind of overview. The strict "involvement" of these pictures, which serve our worldly concepts and imaginations, is put up for exploration and discussion. The exhibition, curated by Udo Kittelmann for the Museum Frieder Burda, forms an arc between Andreas Gursky's older, iconic works and his latest and most current visual inventions. This presentation opens up a rich pictorial panorama to the visitor, which simultaneously provides a precise analysis of our complex reality and formulates great joy in the seeing and discovering of pictures.
A Steidl publication is accompanying the exhibition (160 pages).