Andreas Gursky

Born in 1955 in Leipzig, Germany, Andreas Gursky studied first at the Folkwangschule in Essen, where he was taught a subjective style of photography, and then at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie under Bernd Becher, whose objective approach – encapsulated in his systematic photographic inventory of industrial architecture – influenced an entire generation of German artists. From these two quite different perspectives, Gursky distilled a personal vocabulary that brought him phenomenal success within just a few years. As one of the last upholders of photographic realism, he captures a global world in a vertiginous manner and is interested in the relation of the individual to the structure — chiefly architectural. He uses digital software to combine images and viewing angles in order to create geometric rhythms that are close to abstraction, but which make reference, both in terms of format and composition, to the grand tradition of painting. The power of his photographs comes from this ambiguity born of a “classical” composition and of elements issuing from our contemporary industrial and consumerist environment. This enormous technical sophistication reveals the sublime as well as the terrible emanating from the contemporary world and its workplaces. Andreas Gursky’s photographs, with their technical perfection and epic size, have been exhibited all over the world since the mid-1980s and today command record prices on the art market.