Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent photographs by Andreas Gursky, his first at the gallery in New York since 2016.
Gursky’s large-scale photographs evoke the global flow of information, the chaos of contemporary life competing with the classical desire for order. He portrays the visual extremes of the present moment with an objective eye, capturing built and natural environments on a grand scale in richly detailed images of autobahns and cruise ships, mountains and waterfalls. While comparable in their scope to early nineteenth-century landscape paintings, Gursky’s works retain the precision of photography. Many have been digitally manipulated, and often reveal a sensitivity to the damaging effects of human systems on the natural world.
Several of the images in the exhibition hinge on references to Gursky’s previous works. Rhein III (2018), which represents the titular river as an abstracted strip, recalls the artist’s earlier Rhein II (1999); while the setting and proportions of the two images are almost identical, the subject is shown, in the former, to have suffered from that summer’s drought. Gursky’s concern with ecology is also evident in Streif (2021), which depicts a downhill ski slope in Kitzbühel, Austria, in January 2020. While the site is recognizable, and features the colored boundary markings common to such tracks, the panoramic shot is in part a digital construction. This visual artifice echoes the unnatural character of the slope itself, which is maintained by using environmentally damaging snow cannons.