My Blue Period

Andreas Gursky: from the shot of a gas cooker to monumental photography.

The Hayward Gallery reopens after two years of closure exposing the greatest Andreas Gursky’s retrospection that the Uk has ever had the pleasure to present. From 25 January to 22 April, The Londonese Gallery will feature 60 of the major large-scale photographs starting from the early 1980s, with the exceptional add of some of his latest works.

“A true innovator engaged in thinking about and picturing the times in which we live in, Gursky is the perfect artist for launching the 50th anniversary year of the Hayward” with these words Ralph Rugoff announced the exhibition that, no need to say it, reopens the artistic season with a BANG!

Andreas Gursky is a German photographer considered one of the most famous and acclaimed for large format photographs of landscapes and globalization. In 1980 he started producing photographs that were so large to need a commercial lab to be printed.   One of the examples that can best demonstrate this, is undoubtedly his shot “Paris, montparnasse” the image of a chaotic and old building that measures 2 meters high and 4 wide. From 1990 on, Gursky began using digital manipulation. The photographer started combining multiple shots of the same subject, often taken from different angles, and to merge them together. What results is an image in which space seems enormously dilated. Using this technique Gursky, in 1990, in Rhine II, created a section of the Rhine river from nothing. He took several shots of the same river and mixed them into a totally new landscape that did not exist in real nature. In 2011 this same work was sold at auction for a record amount of 4,338,500 dollars. Thanks to the use of digital manipulation, his deliberately global photography becomes extreme. Subjects as a bustling stock market, a retail complex or an office, are rendered even more chaotic, vast, colorful, noisy and eye-loosing. Another important feature in Gursky’s photography, is undoubtedly the shooting from above. Indeed, many of his photographs allow us, as he himself explains, to see what a god presumably sees. “I stand at a distance, like a persone who comes from another world” Gursky said. But despite his shots are undoubtedly suggestive and breathtaking, regards the shooting process, there is nothing divine: Gursky uses cranes, roofs on which he climbs, and even helicopters.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m a huge fan of Gursky. He changed the rules of digital photography, he was an innovator and a man who really reached the peak of success. From his very first shot of his cheap gas cooker to being the photographer of the “monumental”.

p“Paris, Montparnasse”, Andreas Gursky (1993) ©ANDREAS GURSKY, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin / London

andreas-gursky-rhine-ii“Rhine II”, Andreas Gursky (1999) ©ANDREAS GURSKY, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin / London

Andreas-Gursky-Kuwait-Stock-Exchange-II-2007“Kuwait Stock Exchange II”, Andreas Gursky (2007) ©ANDREAS GURSKY, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin / London

gursky_amazon“Amazon”, Andreas Gursky, 2016 ©ANDREAS GURSKY, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin / London

time-100-influential-photos-andreas-gursky-99-cent-90“99 Cent”, Andreas Gursky (1999) ©ANDREAS GURSKY, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin / London


“Gas cooker”, Andreas Gursky, 1980


  1. I didn’t know her digitally manipulated his photographs, though I suspected it with that first image before I went back and read your text. As a digital artist myself it’s great to see other digital artists who have gained international attention and validated using the computer as a legitimate avenue of fine art exploration (which it of course is, though many are resistant to it). Great photos, and the other thing that is intriguing is just how large they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me neither. When I saw him for the first time, I thought it was unbelievable how he could make me part of its work. When you face such a large picture of, I do not know, a stock market you almost seem to experience it: is so chaotic, you seem to hear the noises. Then I discovered that the images were manipulated. And, honestly, I think that the use of digital manipulation is not at all a defect but, rather, an added value. Knowing that he personally made the image so catchy, so interesting, it makes him a “big”.

      Liked by 1 person

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