Andreas Gursky captures the burning issues of modern life and global reality with an objective and precise eye. His overall compositions are technical and pictorial masterpieces, and have long since inscribed themselves on the art world’s collective memory. Gursky’s typical forms of expression are digitally processed images and extremely large-scale formats.
The works of the artist, born in 1955 in Leipzig, always bear visual testimony to his decades of travel around the globe. Behind his photographs is an imaginary map that traces the artist’s travel itineraries. There is hardly an artist of our time who has portrayed his travels so consistently and so graphically in his works. At the same time, Gursky always had an eye on an exact depiction of the world, its construction and its condition. “Reality can only be portrayed at all by constructing it”, as the artist himself once noted. His images are to be seen as reflections on both the outward and inward appearances of the world. Their apparent beauty and perfection initially conceal the wealth of association that is intrinsic to them. Gursky’s works seduce through that which is portrayed but at the same time, they insist that the observer thinks about the reasons for and causes of their existence.
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 globalised world; whether through internationally active stock markets, Cairo and the world heritage site of the Cheops pyramid, basket-weavers in the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang, Prada flagship stores, the distribution centres of globally active companies, rubbish dumps in Mexico or mass spectacles in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, the subversive demonstration of power structures and global world orders all belong to the artist’s rich repertoire of creative work.
The exhibition at Museum Frieder Burda presents the fascinating pictorial cosmos of Andreas Gursky in a retrospective overview exhibition. It ranges from older, iconic works by the artist to his latest visual inventions. It opens up a rich pictorial panorama which at once confronts the observer with our complex reality while, at the same time, formulates great joy in the seeing and discovering of pictures.