Born in 1955, Andreas Gursky is a recognized visual artist from Germany famous for large format landscape and architecture color photography, often utilizing a high view point. One of his photographs, known an Rhein II, was sold for $4.3 million at Christie’s in New York in 2011 – the most expensive photo ever auctioned.
Gursky was born in Leipzig, he grew up in Düsseldorf as a son of commercial shutterbugs. He went to Folkwangscule in Essen between 1978 and 1981. Gursky was given excellent training by Bernd and Hilla Becher at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1981 to 1987. The Bechers are a duo of extraordinary and distinctive photographers who portray symmetry in architecture and industrial machines. Gursky demonstrates a similar methodical approach in large scale photographs that portray repetition, symmetry, pattern, textures, colors and a lot more. Gursky’s other influence is John Davies, an outstanding photographer who works on landscapes as well. The list of influencers also includes Joel Sternfeld.
Pre 1990s, Gursky did not rely on digital tool to manipulate his photographs, however afterwards he openly agrees that he uses computers and softwares to transform his images making subjects and spaces appear larger than their actual size.
Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker called Andreas Gursky’s photographs as splashy, unbelievable, vast and worth enjoying. Gursky’s photos are frequently taken from a high vantage point allowing the viewers to witness scenes incorporating both the periphery and centre. In an exhibition at Museum of Modern Art in New York, 2001, Gursky’s work was described as unornamented observation with an enigmatic style and straightforward photography. Gursky compares his work to Trance music since it is soothing yet colorful and simple yet deep.
99 Cent is a photograph by Andreas Gursky taken at a 99 Cents Store in Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard. It portrays the horizontal vastness of the interior’s composition of white vertical columns intersection equidistant shelves.
In 1995, his photograph, Dance Valley Festival shot close to Amsterdam portrayed a DJ facing a huge arena with lighting effects and crowd. After completing this assignment, he says the only music worth reaching his ears is Trance that also echoes in his photographs while leading people towards deep and visceral emotions.
In 1985, Gursky’s first exhibition took place in German and then subsequently spread across Europe. His first unaccompanied exposition was held in 1988 at Galerie Johnen & Schöttle in Cologne. His solo museum show happened at the Milwaukee Art Museum in US ten years later. In 2001, his work was the exhibition’s subject – a event organized by MoMA that traveled to Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Paris’s Centre Pompidou. Other museum retrospectives include locations like Switzerland’s Kunstmuseum Basel, 2007; Sharjah Art Museum, Moscow’s Ekaterina Foundation, Munich’s Haus der Kunst, and Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria between 2007 and 2008; Stockholm’s Moderna Museet; and Vancouver Art Gallery.
Works by Andreas Gursky are included in international collections, such as at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art; London’s Tate Modern, Paris’s Centre Pompidou; San Francisco’s SFMOMA; and Kunsthaus Zürich.
The private collectors of his work are Eli Broad from Los Angeles, Gennadiy Korban from Geneva, Bernard Arnault from Paris, and Mitchell Rales.
In almost all photos by Gursky, there is a lot going on in a single image and viewers can observe for hours gazing at everything from afar and up close.