Yesterday, thanks to a free ticket given to me by a friend, I had the chance to visit the Andreas Gursky exhibit. Known as the maker of the highest selling print, I was impressed, yet a little disappointed at the same time.
Of course, he is a very talented photographer. My favorite three are probably Untitled XIII (2002), Beijing (2010) and F1 Pit Stop IV (2007). Untitled XIII shows a landfill with plastic bags flying in the wind above. Had there been no flying bags, I doubt the image would have been as strong, as they look like angels fleeing the garbage of the Earth below. A very powerful image in my mind.
I like Beijing because I'm a fan of architectural photography, and it showcases a large triangle in the middle, a favorite subject of mine recently. He desaturated most the picture, except for some red on the left side. This reinforces the composition, adding a very graphic sense to the composition.
As for F1 Pit Stop IV, what attracts me to the pictures are two race queens, one which may be a transvestite. They may have been photoshopped in, as Gursky does not shy away from using editing software to enhance his pictures. If it is indeed a transvestite, it certainly adds a bit of humor, considering how manly race car driving is.
The one thing that did disappoint me, though, was reading about him in the book of the exhibition. Part of his success apparently resides in the fact that his prints are very big. From that point of view, is success of a photographer only dependent on the size of the prints? If so, the art world is in a bad state; otherwise, it seems quite reductionist considering his talent.
All in all, though, I was very happy to have gone to the exhibit. It is worth going on weekdays if you have the chance to avoid crowds and really have time to let the images sink in. As most pictures are huge, it is worth staying for each a few minutes, moving back and forth and changing points of view.
Partly inspired by his work, perhaps, here are two shots I took yesterday. Large size, of course! ;o)
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