Andreas Gursky. Architecture


The widely famous and Leipzig-born photographer Andreas Gursky, known for his large scale digital photographs is exhibiting in Darmstadt until the 26th October.

The selection, which contemplates various cities and ranges from 1988 up to the present, is emblematic in highlighting Gursky´s program -to build an encyclopedia of globalisation. Gursky´s pictures problematize how architecture shapes people´s life by having a decisive influence in their social and cultural structures.

Taking on Oscar Niemeyer´s Brasilia for instance, as the icon of modern architecture with a social and utopic program behind, Gursky´s “Plenarsaal II” (1994), comments on the way we are actual living in and with those full-with-promises-of-a-better-future spaces.

“99 cent” (1999), one of my favorite photos, showing a common supermarket where its colorful products coexist with multi various advertising signs in a maniac order – for it is consciously programmed -, humorously joins the vision of our present consumerism rush, with a strange surveillance tone derived from our present technological condition and a modernist aesthetic principle.

Be it in a devoid of people dry landscape in an historically-charged Cheops or in Sao Paulo´s metropolis where people stand and wait for their transport just a moment before everything changes, the grid is a recurrent motive in Gursky´s works. Sometimes it is achieved through a sort of digital collage technique which contributes to the whole idea of fugacity and change defining our life today and which the works pay attention to.

While comparing an empty “Prada Store” (1997) with the “Chicago Board of Trade II” (1999), we are confronted with dramatic stillness and rapidity, both photographs underlying how fleeting and fictional today´s values are. Taming the extreme entropy and acceleration of our present age, Gursky´s work poses pertinent questions about how do we attribute value and meaning to things, how do we try to impose order to our apparently chaotic world and how spaces not only reflect but influence our social and economic structures more than we´re ready to admit.

Andreas Gursky. Architecture
May 11th to September 7th, 2008
Institut Mathildenhöhe

Opening May 10th, 2008

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