Saturday, June 09, 2007

Andreas Gursky

Ah, spring in Chelsea...no windows...no doors...art spilling out everywhere. I could give up nature for this...or this would be the one thing that would tempt me. German photographer Andreas Gursky gets at the bigness, the largess, and perhaps the delicacy (or not) of modernity, capturing chains of islands from the air (chains that will likely disappear very soon...), and roadways in Bahrain. He also boasts of said "biggest" "most expensive" and "most people" in a photograph, such as the one immediately below at Matthew Marks.
and in detail:
I watched group after group of people walk in and bend down to see what the two below are looking for. What is it?
Getting closer...
And closer...

I could tell you what floats down in the bottom, but that would be spoiling the fun. Coming to terms with scale is key here. Take a photo that when viewed large resembles one of the thousands of metal doors that swoop down over store fronts up and down the streets of New York after dark. But up close? Again, I won't tell you, but I'll give you a hint: it's edible.

I've posted at length on Gursky:
there is something extremely compelling about the scale and depth these photographers--Gursky, Burtynsky, Hofer--achieve. The tenderness, the depth of feeling that one senses in the composition, tone, and subject matter. Prefacing Irish writer Edmund Burke from 1756, Critic Alix Ohlin suggests a contemporary sublime, a time in which we are faced with "terrible emotion,""terror" and "transformation." Scale. Remember the guilt with which people referred to 9/11 as such, the "brute beauty," if you will, of the destruction? We aren't so much trembling before God, Ohlin suggests, as we are trembling before the sheer presence of ourselves. Difficult to disagree.
Micro to Macro. Compacted. Grand. The show is a must see. It's up until June 30.

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