Visions of industry and objectivityAn exhibition by two contemporary German photographers offers panoramic images of post-modern and post-industrialized society, as well as depictions of people visiting cultural destinations as if they were objects in a painting.
The exhibition at Gallery Hyundai features the work of Thomas Struth ― a series of monumental photographs of people visiting museums, views of forests and jungles, and expressive portraits ― and Andreas Gursky’s surrealistic images of endless displays of beverages in a supermarket, gigantic apartment complexes and stockbrokers in a vast hall.
Mr. Struth was born in Geldern, Germany in 1954, and studied painting at the Dusseldorf Art Academy under Gerhard Richter and photography under Bernd Becher.
He gained recognition with his “Museum Series” of photos taken at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tokyo National Museum, the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Art History Museum in Vienna and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Mr. Struth’s shots not only illustrate the open and spacious interior of the museums, but also portray visitors and their expressions as subjects.
In his “Paradise Series,” he displays details of untouched nature with tropical plants, bushes and streams, while the “Portrait Series” consists of expressive family portraits of German, Japanese, Chinese and Scottish families “in all their genetic and cultural splendor,” according to a book by author Douglas Eklund.
Andreas Gursky was born in East Germany in 1955, to a father who was a commercially successful photographer. He studied photography at the Folkwangschule in Essen, and was mentored by Otto Steinert and, like Mr. Struth, Bernd Becher.
Mr. Gursky’s work is like an industrial documentary contained in a photograph. He describes the structure of space and geometrically aligned objects in the series “99 Cent” and “Hong Kong Stock Exchange.”
He is also known for his photographs of huge industrial parks, apartment complexes, the Bundestag, the Olympics and midnight techno music raves attended by “casts of thousands.”
The Broad Art Foundation said, “Gursky’s subject matter reveals a fascination with capitalism.”
The Museum of Modern Art described his work as “big, high-tech, fast-paced, expensive and global. Within it, the anonymous individual is but one among many.”
Alongside “99 Cent” and “Hong Kong Stock Exchange,” “Prada III,” and “Klitschko” are praised by critics as representative of his finest work.
by Limb Jae-un
The exhibition continues until Feb. 25. Gallery Hyundai can be reached from exit 1 of Anguk station on line No. 3. Admission is 3,000 won ($2.90). For information, call (02) 734-6111~3 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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