- Andreas Gursky
- C-print mounted on Plexiglas in artist's frame
Acquired by the present owner from the above
During the 1980s, Gursky emerged as one of the leading lights among a group of German photographers schooled by the eminent professors Bernd and Hilla Becher. The Bechers' teaching concentrated on the formal structure and documentary aspects of photography. Absorbing their systematically objective and rigorously conceptual style, Gursky's art provides a poetic commentary on our world, consisting of a series of monumental, animated "vitrines" which highlight our relative insignificance within the magnitude of our surroundings.
The current work, Frankfurt, is an outstanding example of this aesthetic practice. The scene depicted is that of the airport at Frankfurt where people occupy a slim segment along the lower register of this image, while the massive board, clearly outlining all of the destinations, gates and times dominates the picture plane. Gursky was one of the first photographers to adopt new editing technologies in order to manipulate his large scale images, and although the viewer understands this to be so, the manipulations are subtle and serve to create a reality that is at once more true in the artist's mind and yet also falsified. Here Gursky has selectively highlighted the clusters of people who, in relation to the geometric abstract expansion of the announcement board, become that much more isolated not only from each other but also from the vast global network in which modern man operates. The board serves almost as a map of the world, but not the type with which most of us are familiar; rather it is simply an amalgamation of assorted data. Gursky's modification flattens the image and emphasizes the formalistic structure of the work, making the image seem sharper but also more abstract at the same time. Frankfurt is an archetypal image wherein modern man appears disconnected from the natural world and is simply an obscure element in this oversized diagram of daily departures and arrivals.