Andreas Gursky
Year, Birthplace 1955, Germany
Andreas Gursky studied at the Folkwangschule in Essen under Otto Steinert, the inventor of subjective photography. In 1980 Gursky completed his education at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie, where Hilda and Bernd Becher taught. Beginning in 1984, Gursky evolved and liberated himself from the Bechers’ influence, producing images based on personal creativity. In 1990, on a trip to Japan, fascinated by an image published in a daily paper, Gursky photographed the interior of the Tokyo stock exchange. Tokyo Stock Exchange (1990) marked the beginning of a new style and a new method of work, consisting of conceiving and ‘constructing’ his images in advance. He began locating precise sites all over the world offering grandiose and classical compositions. In printing, a wide white margin is integral to his photographs. His subjects include mass meetings (Toten Hosen) and sportive events (EM, Arena, Amsterdam I, 2000), places of business (Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, 1994) and immense hotel lobbies (Shanghai, 2000). Gursky takes an interest in the symbols of consumer society, as in Prada II (1997) with its empty shop displays. During the 1990s the German photographer also began reworking his images digitally, but it is not known to what extent he used computers. However, his photographs, which appear to come from a single point of view, are the result of multiple plates from different angles. The objectivity is in fact an illusion. Because of the success of his compositions, Gursky’s works command higher prices at auction than those of any other contemporary photographer. J-FC