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Andreas Gursky



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Andreas Gursky is best known for his large-scale digital photographs that arguably changed the status of the photographic medium. While analog photography is typically understood to record experiential reality, Gursky’s use of digital technologies in the postproduction process frees his photography from indexical qualities, inviting skepticism about the supposed reality of the visible. Beijing is also exemplary of Gursky’s artistic oeuvre in that it features a site of global mass traffic: the image depicts an interior view of Beijing’s famous national stadium, the so-called Bird’s Nest, a structure designed for the summer 2008 Beijing Olympics by the Swiss-based architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. In this image Gursky combined several interior views of staircases within the stadium, emphasizing the complex beam structure that defines the architecture but distorting the perspectival orientation. As with his other photographs, the image remains ambivalent: is it primarily a study of the formal qualities of the building, compressing our experience of its interior into one complex image, or is it also a critique—of this site, and of other sites that celebrate nationalism as well as global economic power? [Permanent collection label, 2016]

  • Artist Andreas Gursky (German, b. 1955)
  • Title Beijing
  • Date 2010
  • Medium Inkjet print
  • Edition description 4/4
  • Dimensions framed | 120 7/8 x 83 7/8 x 2 3/8 in.
  • Credit line University purchase with funds from the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation, 2012
  • Object number WU 2012.0006

Encountering the City: The Urban Experience in Contemporary Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/12/2014 - 01/04/2015

Contemporary German Art: Selections from the Permanent Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/03/2013 - 09/07/2013

Sprüth Magers Berlin London (London)

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