Upon learning of Andreas Gurskyıs exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art, blasé thoughts passed through my mind; flashbacks from earlier years of studying his work hit my conscious with an overwhelming sense of dreariness. After all, long hours were spent in a dark room with the hypnotic buzzing of a slide, project only to display images of ordinary objects. At the time, these images represented banality. Nonetheless, I ventured to the exhibit to see images that I had only experienced in slide form and to give Gursky a second chance. As I was awed by the massiveness of each piece, I began to observe the important role of the objects within each image. After an afternoon of engrossing in large-scale photography, my appreciation for Gursky became apparent. The way in which he captured the essence of ordinary objects to make them into defining statements proclaimed that Gursky was a part of the post-modernist movementnot only making it apparent of the influence from other art upon his own but defining it on his own terms.
Gurskyıs new images are predominately computer-generated and printed out by a printer. This phenomenon is not new to the world of Art. A lot of todayıs photographers have delved into digital technology and accordingly produce digital prints. Some of those artists include Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall, Richard Mizrack, David Lachapelle, and others. The uniqueness that Gursky carries with his work is that he documents places that are both common and a work environment to record it with the computer on a technical basis. He allows us to see the pixels when up close to the images. Sometimes if we are lucky, we can even see computer manipulation by which colors are enhanced and add an extra element to the photographs. As exemplified in the piece entitled ³99 Cent Store,² Gursky almost inconspicuously adds a reflection to the ceiling. He has also ³altered the image to place the foreground and the background on the same visual plane and eliminated atmospheric perspective.²(Web) We still do not lose the modernistic experience from his images. Similarly to August Sanders who documented the post-industrial environment of Germany and the World, Gursky enhances our daily experiences with his digital images.
What makes Andreas Gursky a new Avant-Garde artist is that he blatantly makes us aware of his influences from advertising concepts. We can especially see this rendered in the piece ³200 pairs Reebok tennis shoes.² He organizes the image as an ordinary window display; the shoes placed strategically and evenly. To the unimpressed eye, the image may be passed over as just another commercial; however, we realize that Gursky makes the point that the image offers more than meets the eye. Doubling as artistic creation with hypnotic simplicity and decorative qualities, he poses the question of art crossing boundaries and whether the viewer allows for art to be more than just one definition. In addition, his outrageously huge, incredibly sharp images remind the viewer of billboards displayed on any interstate. His subject matter is rather simple and could easily be read.
Gursky teases us on occasion; sometimes he seems to play the role of the modern impressionist. As in the piece ³99 Cent Store,² though we can clearly see the different colors of each label on each candy bar in the foreground, the background becomes hazy. The more one tries to gaze into anything other than the foreground, the viewer is reminded of George Seurat and Pointillism. The candy bars become more like an Impressionist study of reflections on the ceiling. Computer-manipulation also plays a dazzling role in the image of ³Rhine near Hamburg.² Almost as if this image could adorn the walls of an Impressionist Retrospective, Gursky proclaims his vows as a modern Impressionist who frequently edited out industrial buildings in their paintings.
In a Post-Modern world of photography, it is all too commonplace to be inundated with photographs that are gigantic in size. There is a saying that goes, ³if a photograph does not look good, then just make it bigger until it does.² Gursky is probably more than aware of this notion; however, his images still carry a lot of clout regardless of their size. Gurskyıs large-scale photographs compare to the likes of Neo-Classical paintings. The scale is important because he wants the viewer to be much a part of the picture. True to Modernist ideas, he carefully frames his subjects, making the viewer aware that the entire piece as a whole entity is what is important, rather than parts of it. If something was not of satisfactory condition, Gursky uncompromisingly would just edit it out of the frame.
His jamboree images, like Madonnaıs concert and May Day, portray an anonymous and eerie collection of people, almost presenting the viewer with the likes of a religious cult gathering. Although these people go about their lives individually by day, Gursky reminds us of commonality. These mass gatherings of people have one common interest that makes these people less individuals and more of a unit.
In some of Gurskyıs images, one can find images that have symbolic meanings. The image of the Bridge seems to have a concealed meaning of suicidal tendencies. Andrea have added grey skies to give us a sense of dreadfulness and eeriness. We can also see that angel of the camera is facing up towards the sky which gives us vertigo anxiety.
Andreas Gursky is true to his art and probably does not consider himself as high art. He does not make those clique images like Ansel Adams that simple just say ³Beautiful.² He photographs the everyday, lobbies, carpet, crowds or anything that is consider unpicturesque for the modernist. He also has characteristics of the Post Modernist by creating new ways of taking photos and digitally outputting immense images and displaying in todayıs prestigious galleries. Also, Gursky puts hidden deep content into his images that gives us wondering thoughts. In addition, we saw Andre Gurksy have knowledge of Art history that gives us easier way to appreciate and grasping his images.