Many artists create pictures that deserve sufficient space on gallery walls, but photographer Andreas Gursky takes space to a new extreme. The German photographer, born in 1955 and working in the arts since his college years, captures life on a large scale. His current show at the Hayward Gallery in London required a construction crane and the removal of ceiling tiles just to fit some of his photos.
Although some of his photos were moved by hand, the largest required a crane and careful handling. The most cumbersome photo measured approximately five meters long by two meters tall. The show coincides with the reopening of the Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre. The gallery’s director Ralph Rugoff said Gursky was chosen for the innovation and new dialogue he brings to the artistic expression shared by photographers.
Gursky’s scope is grand, his subject matter frequently architectural, and his focus on elevated perspectives of sweeping landscapes of modern life. Some of the famous photos include Sixty Minute Spectrum, a unique view of the Hayward Gallery itself, 99 Cents, showing the interior stocked shelves of a huge Los Angeles dollar store, and Les Mées, a seemingly idyllic view of a French solar farm laid across rolling hills. Other subject matter includes an Amazon warehouse interior, a race car track in Bahrain, and world stock markets.
Also included is Rhine II, an image of grassy banks beside the rushing river. It holds the world record as the highest price photo ever sold at a price of $4.3 million. Part of the exhibit features art that strays from the only-photos work of earlier years. Andreas Gursky has adopted more high-tech methods of creation. Pictures like Review, which shows four decades of German Chancellors in a row, consist of digitally altered images instead of personally taken photos.