About us
Artists Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky Photo

Andreas Gursky

German Photographer

Movements and Styles: Dusseldorf school, Modern Photography

Born: January 15, 1955 - Leipzig, Germany

Andreas Gursky Timeline

Quotes

"All my pictures are based on a direct visual experience from which I develop an idea for a picture, which is subjected to testing in the studio and eventually worked on and precised at the computer."
Andreas Gursky
"The American Abstract Expressionists fascinate me. The distinction between photography and painting is still that the viewer always reads photography as what is presented, whereas painting is about the presentation as such. That has always been a guidepost for me. It is interesting to me that someone looking at my work tends to be stunned initially by being first confronted with visual phenomena that cannot be immediately classified."
Andreas Gursky
"I think I'm a very slow worker, so I focus on one picture and the background of the original idea for why I choose this location or this space is always a reference to a picture that I did before, but then I change the content a bit."
Andreas Gursky
"My preference for clear structures is the result of my desire - perhaps illusory - to keep track of things and maintain my grip on the world."
Andreas Gursky
"I compare my work to that of a writer. He writes from what he remembers and his different impressions. In a way, a writer has the freedom to connect different thoughts, and this is the way I work with photography. It is not a straight documentary but the details that are going together, they come from the real world and they exist."
Andreas Gursky
"Even if a picture is completely invented or built, it's necessary that you could imagine that it's a realistic location or place. I am not happy if the picture looks completely surreal. Even if I am working with montage, I want that you don't see it."
Andreas Gursky
"I am never interested in the individual, but in the human species and its environment."
Andreas Gursky
"I only pursue one goal: the encyclopedia of life,"
Andreas Gursky
"My photographs are 'not abstract.' Ultimately, they are always identifiable. Photography in general simply cannot disengage from the object."
Andreas Gursky

"It is not pure photography, what I do."

Andreas Gursky Signature

Synopsis

Emerging from the renowned Dusseldorf School in the late 1980s, Andreas Gursky was pivotal in creating a new standard in contemporary photography, a pioneer who furthered the possibilities of scale and ambition. His massive, clinical, and distanced surveys of public spaces, landscapes, and structures contributed to a new art of picture taking in contrast to the Minimalism and Conceptualism of the 1970s. His use of large-format cameras, scanning, digital manipulation, the layering of multiple pictures to create a cohesive image, and technical postproduction positioned him as an important bridge between the old ways of shooting and presenting pictures and the current highly, technologically advanced era of photography.

Key Ideas

Vast, large places are of particular interest to the artist such as stock exchanges, concert arenas, big box stores, sweeping landscapes, racetracks, and other locations, which engage in regular relationship with the human population. His monumental photographs of these environments have the effect of fully encompassing the viewer within the spaces they aim to portray.
Gursky's photographs are often shot from an elevated, aerial perspective. This allows viewers to experience a scene in its full proportions, which would ordinarily be impossible, allowing for a visual comprehension of scope, center, and periphery.
A straightforward and distanced observation informs Gursky's work, leaving us to formulate our own opinions and responses. We recognize his world as our own rather than one adorned with any personal messaging.
Aggregate space performs largely in the success of each work. Even though his subject matter exists prior to his encounter with it, he manages to masterfully reveal its inherently harmonious sum of individual parts where objects become elements such as strata, line, geometry, color, and form.
Gursky's photographs create a dialogue between painting and representation in that they go beyond merely capturing a piece of visual documentation - they in fact oftentimes conjure the look and feel borrowed from such movements as Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.
Although Gursky refrains from social or political commentary with his work, he admits an overriding interest in capturing the existence of globalism and consumerism as it relates to modern man.

Biography

Andreas Gursky Photo

Childhood

Andreas Gursky was born in Leipzig, East Germany on January 15, 1955. An only child, he later moved with his family to the West German city of Essen followed by Düsseldorf in 1957. Both his grandfather and father were successful commercial photographers and although he at first "denied anything to do with photography," he changed his mind in high school. He dabbled in a few commercial shoots before moving in a more artistic direction.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Andreas Gursky Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Andreas Gursky
Interactive chart with Andreas Gursky's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys
Gerhard RichterGerhard Richter
Bernd and Hilla BecherBernd and Hilla Becher
Kasper Koenig
John Davies

Personal Contacts

Movements

Industrial Photography
New ObjectivityNew Objectivity
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
MinimalismMinimalism

Influences on Artist
Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky
Years Worked: 1978 - Present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Candida Höfer
Edward Burtynsky

Personal Contacts

Sven Väth
Axel Hütte
Laurenz Berges
Thomas StruthThomas Struth
Thomas RuffThomas Ruff

Movements

Dusseldorf schoolDusseldorf school
Contemporary Landscape Photography

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Hope Guzzo

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Hope Guzzo
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
Available from:
[Accessed ]