The monumental photographic work of Andreas Gursky has made him one of the greatest photographers of our times, and it’s also made him one of the richest. Only three years back one of his epic prints Rhein II sold for £2.7 million (dwarfing Cindy Sherman’s 2.4 million for Untitled 93) and it remains the most expensive photo ever sold. This particular specimen may not be on show at this exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey, but what is is bound to be as masterful and awesome as ever.
Famed for his ‘scientific’ approach, Gursky has always claimed his interest in the ‘encyclopedia of life’, which perhaps explains why his works often feels like a window into a beehive or an ant farm. Rarely does Gursky do intimate. His observations examine the modern world on mass, the busyness of the human race… for better or worse. His past subjects have included landfills, factory lines of workers, the modern dwelling of the tower block, and swarms of ravers at a festival in Germany. His meditations on the repetitiveness of our society are both unsettling and sublime.
What this exhibition does reveal is a new subject matter for his work: pop culture. The exhibition centers around works created from appropriated images taken from Hollywood ‘superhero’ feature films. Drawing on stills from the Ironman, Spiderman and Batman, Gursky has created imagery that observes the pervasiveness of pop culture into our collective unconsciousness.
The technical skill that goes into the production of these photographs is breathtaking and dictates that only very few are produced within a year. Don’t miss this chance to see this true master up close. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On from 30th April to 6th July. For more info, visit: http://www.whitecube.com/exhibitions/andreas_gursky_bermondsey_2014/