Andreas Gursky at Museum Kunstpalast

Andreas Gursky is without a doubt, one of the world's most important photographic artists of the current day.
His work, his painterly photographs are intense, certainly eye catching, thought-provoking and indeed spectacular on both an emotional and physical scale and yet, also miniscule in detail.
International broadsheets announce record prices for his work, arts students think of him as a great influence on their studies and discoveries.

And, Gursky is a Düsseldorf artist. He came to the city as a young child, studied here at the art academy after initial studies at the Folkwang University in Essen. He works here from his studio of over 30 years in Oberkassel and is now professor for free art at the art academy where he once was a student himself of hugely influential Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Consequently the media interest at the press conference for the Andreas Gursky exhibition at Museum Kunstpalast was quite something. These affairs tend to be quite tame in Düsseldorf, but not only did only over 130 representatives turn up but the questions were also penetrating to the point of Gursky declining to answer, on the grounds that the question was 'too personal' at one point. 

Gursky at the press conference at mkp
photo: ©Bernd Ahrens

Each work, these days, is the product of a lengthy process which begins, he enchanting told us, with a photograph taken with his mobile phone! He then investigates the depth of the image, what he sees and what it could be. He may go to extraordinary lengths to take photographs such as in the new piece 'Katar' on show at Museum Kunstpalast for the very first time. Gursky climbed 40 meters down a ladder into an enormous gas tank to capture these images which he finally made into the work of a golden-coloured space. Down on the ground one can spot a minuscule man, cleaning the gas tank from within a tent. It's an extraordinary image. Detailed and astounding.

Beat Wismer, director of mkp, and co-curator of this exhibition and
Gursky who also co-curated
photo: ©Bernd Ahrens

This is, without a doubt, a show of great depth. Simply put, Gursky creates a piece that imitates what the eye actually sees when positioned from a bird's eye view. This is an image a camera not capture in all complexity. By working with numerous images of the same scene and then spending 'months in exile' in his studio, Gursky then comes out with an often spectacular piece of work that is both immediate and yet deep; his wishes that his work will stand the test of time and indeed they are a great document of our massive world today and the intricate creatures, we human beings, that create extraordinary scenarios in such an all encompassing way. 
Finally, Gursky told us that he still likes to believe in the one shot photograph!

A must-see show.