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  • Writer's pictureBeyond the Canvas

Andreas Gursky: Visual Spaces of Today - MAST Foundation, Bologna

"I do see myself as a chronicler. My pictures try to encapsulate our time." - Andreas Gursky

Whatever he sees himself as, Andreas Gursky is the creator and sole owner of a visual language like no other. His iconic large-scale digitally-manipulated photos (they sell for millions, in case you were wondering) present us with a reality that, depending on how close or far from them we are, is both familiar and alien. I found his befuddling blend of figurative and abstract dizzying and deeply intriguing. And yes, also a little bit anxiety-inducing.

To look at Gursky's imagery is to stand in front a mirror. Before us, a rather sobering vision of today's globalised world. His work confronts the state of humanity, the devastating damage inflicted on the environment, our sick fascination with the relentless acquisition and obscene consumption of stuff. There is chaos, there is order, there is tension and there is pain. In short, there is reality. And in all this, human beings are but a small, negligible presence. Blurry, faceless and, ultimately, the smallest cog in a big machine.

This show should not be missed. Once again, I take my hat off to Urs Stahel, his team and the artist himself for curating such an arresting and thought-provoking exhibition. At Fondazione MAST until January 7, 2024.

99 Cent II, 1991

Untitled XIII, 2002

Amazon, 2016

Nha Trang, 2004

Bahrain I, 2005

Les Mées, 2016

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