Forming a piece in Gursky’s global puzzle, the present work collectively conforms to the artist’s utterly inimitable structural vision and ordering gaze. Bahrain II possesses the same signature balance between a disembodied ‘allover’ composition and rigid linearity; tropes often compared to the formal devices of Minimalism and Abstract Expressionist painting. The unmistakable Gurskian stage of planar horizontal strips of racing track are exploited as essential abstract devices further underlined by the picture’s cool and controlled colour palette. Exhibiting the extremity of Gursky's now signature master-trope of an elevated vantage point, a key photographic device gleaned from his formative mentors Bernd and Hiller Becher, Bahrain II’s God's-eye perspective evokes the intimation of a deific realm. This draws a parallel with Caspar David Friedrich whose sublime and vast landscapes are renowned for their devotional invocation of God via a mediating solitary human presence; our participatory empathy with the Rückenfigur, typically present within Friedrich's vast natural expanses, incites an overwhelming annihilation of self and impression of a transcendent higher power. However, in Gursky's photography, to quote Marie Luise Syring, "the tragic element is missing. Instead, the artist maintains an ironic distance" (Marie Luise Syring, 'Where is Untitled? On Locations and the Lack of Them in Gursky's Photography' in: Exh. Cat., Dusseldorf, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Andreas Gursky - Photographs from 1984 to the Present, 1998, p. 7).
An impossible image, not only for the naked eye but also for the single lens, Bahrain II represents a fictional landscape composed of many photographic parts. Representing a rejection of singular perspective, the paragon discovery of Renaissance invention, Gursky disregards our natural stereoscopic vision to engender a harmonised photographic compression of multiple views, digitally processed and cogently reorganised. Herein, Gursky subtly distorts reality and exploits the concept of 'truth' associated with photography. As Syring adds, "by using digital technology, Gursky exposes the consumer world as a virtual spectacle and by radicalising the structure of the image using computers he underlines the theatricality of a situation" (Ibid., p. 6). Ultimately the possibility of a boundless natural Sublime is thwarted by Gurksy's ironical detachment and the restless nature of his composition. Rather than conferring a singular awesome vantage point, our vision is forever navigating the artificial planes of this image's construction. Here, sublimity is engendered, not via a sense of awe-inspired reverence of a transcendental higher-power, but through a tangible sense of the 'here-and-now' resonating from a visual suspension affected by the work of art itself.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale