Friday, December 15, 2017


From Thursday, December 14 to March 2, 2018,  Gagosian is pleased to present photographs by Andreas Gursky, on view for the first time in Italy. Featuring works from the Bangkok series (2011), as well as the monumental Ocean VI (2010), the exhibition coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Rome gallery. 
Gursky has demonstrated that a photographer can make or construct—rather than simply take—photographs about modern life and produce them on the scale of epic painting. Just as history painters of previous centuries found their subjects in the realities of everyday life, he finds inspiration in his own spontaneous visual experience and through reports of global phenomena in the daily media. From initially using the computer as a retouching tool, he began exploring its transformative potential, sometimes combining elements of multiple shots of the same subject into an intricate yet seamless whole, at other times barely altering the image at all. The resulting pictures have a formal congruence deriving from a bold and edgy dialogue between photography and painting, representation and abstraction. 
 In spring of 2011, Gursky visited Bangkok and observed the Chao Phraya that flows through the city and empties into the Gulf of Thailand. In the Bangkok photographs, he depicts the flickering surface of the fast-flowing river at close range. The luminous ripples, captured in an expansive vertical format, echo the chromatic effects of Impressionism, or the bold compositions of the American postwar modernists. The river mutates endlessly, revealing a mercurial, iridescent pattern. This formal beauty, however, gives way to a toxic, scientific reality. Like urban waterways worldwide, Rome’s own Tiber included, the Chao Phraya is revealed by Gursky to be at once a dumping ground for all manner of manmade detritus (used condoms, mattresses, car tires); a crucible for natural disorder (dead fish and the pretty but devastating weed known as water hyacinth); and a reflecting, refracting mirror of the modern city in a constant state of flux. 
For the Oceans series, he sourced high-definition satellite photographs from which to generate his own interpretations of sea and land, consulting shoal maps to obtain the appropriate visual density. Dominated by the Atlantic, with Caribbean islands and parts of the North and South American coastlines visible in the outermost edges, Ocean VI underscores the vulnerability of the Earth’s continents as ocean levels rise at an increasing pace. Gursky’s photographs thus touch a topical nerve in contemporary life, symbolizing environmental threats on both a local and a global scale.
Bangkok VI

Bangkok IX

Bangkok VIII

Bangkok V

Bangkok III

Bangkok II

Ocean VI

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