Andreas Gursky at Gagosian in Beverly Hills

09Apr10

A view of Gursky's new Ocean series at Gagosian's newly expanded Beverly Hills gallery

German artist Andreas Gursky’s installation of fifteen c-prints is a fitting inaugural show for Gagosian Gallery’s newly expanded 3,030 square foot Beverly Hills space, designed by Richard Meier & Partners.  This is the first big show for Gursky in Los Angeles and includes six works from his new “Ocean” series as well as nine retrospective works from the last twenty years.  Gursky is part of a well-known circle of German photographers who studied with Bernd and Hilla Becher at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie, including Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, and Thomas Ruff.

Gursky clearly plays with the idea of the digital, machine eye versus the human eye and the idea of space in his work.  He explains:

Space is very important for me but in a more abstract way.  Maybe we try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe.  I read a picture not for what’s really going on there, I read it more for what is going on in our world generally.

The “Ocean” series includes sweeping mappe del mondo style images taken by satellite of the earth’s surface.  They are grand in scale and conjure up images of Google Earth cast through the lens of the Old World epic painting tradition.  The works in the other galleries feature more people driven works, including the fascinatingly detailed “Pyongyang” and “Madonna,” where humans are cast in an ant-like frenzy.  There is also a documentary by Jan Schmidt-Garre, “Long Shot Close Up,” in the rear gallery that goes behind the scenes and examines Gursky’s creative and technical approach.  Andreas Gursky at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills runs through May 1, 2010.

Read Suzanne Muchnic’s review “Andreas Gursky Makes a Long-Distance Connection,” (Los Angeles Times)

See party pictures from Gagosian’s dinner in honor of the exhibition, at Mr. Chow (Huffington Post)

– Emily Waldorf

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