"Lend Me Your Retina
The White Cube opened a new show of Andreas Gursky's photographs on Thursday. It is powerful stuff, an experience of sheer retinal overload and visual opulence. The pictures are even bigger than before, approaching bill board size. The image above is of a massive water tank / neutrino observatory; the scale becomes obvious only when one notices the two small boats in the lower right.
A lot could (and maybe will) be written about the work's dependence on the retina. The force with which the image presents itself to the viewer now obscures whatever currency Gursky's images used to have as documents of global cultural landscapes. The spectacle in each photograph is amplified to a point where it disengages from a discourse about representation. His image of Pyongyang..., for example, contributes little to a discussion of developments in the East, in the way that Edward Burtynsky's images of China do. It is a matter of visual spectacle. This point is a fulcrum, upon which the viewer's art experience will balance or fall...
This has to do with Gursky's use of the potential of digital technologies to achieve his vision. To begin with, he approaches images now, as most photographer artists do, without the constraints of the frame. Images are constructed using various instances or perspectives, assembled into a final frame, but coming from many. This is representative of how in the age of digital new media, the traditional notion of the image has become obsolete. The frame has been exploded, images become programmable.
...This image (of the "James Bond" islands) is a composite of many pictures taken of various islands. Some islands appear in the image twice, but from different perspectives. The resulting assemblage has an uncanny balance, because the perspectives are not quite perfect, and our eyes are very attuned to this." more here
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Gursky yet again...
After my brief bout of Gursky dissing yesterday I came across Chris Jones' view of the Gursky show/new work on his blog (Chris is a Canadian photographer living and studying in London).
So, an alternate viewpoint:
I'm interested in ways of blasting a way through the perspectivism that holds photography in it's grip. I'm not quite sure that was Gursky's intent in this case, and without seeing the (massive) works first hand, I'm not sure if it manages to do it.
Posted by tim atherton at 12:01 pm