Description: B. 1955
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81 1/2 x 132 in. 207 x 336 cm.
signed, titled, dated 99 and numbered 6/6 on the backing board
chromogenic color print
Heiner Bastian Fine Art, Berlin
Stellan Holm Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2003
New York, Museum of Modern Art; Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Palacio de Velázquez, Parque del Buen Retiro, Andreas Gursky, March - September 2001, pl. no. 58, pp. 180-181, illustrated in color (another example)
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Andreas Gursky, February - April 2002, pp. 44-45, illustrated in color (another example)
During the 1980's, 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. Andreas Gursky's investigation of contemporary culture through detailed, high-gloss images has shaped his reputation as the most influential and popular contemporary photographer of his day. He was one of the first contemporary photographers to use new photo editing technologies to manipulate and alter his large scale photographs. While the audience is aware that the image has been manipulated, they are kept in the dark as to which and how much the elements have been altered. We are forced to accept the inauthentic qualities in a seemingly objective reality. Gursky's modification flattens the image and emphasizes the formalistic structure of the work; making the image seem clearer but also more abstract at the same time.
In 99 Cent Store Andreas Gursky very skillfully uses the minimalist programmed structure of the shelves in combination with fantastically vivid colors and creates an all-over composition without any weaknesses. The striking visual presence created by this technique is especially evident in the present work, which is considered one of the most important photographs within his oeuvre, equal only to Paris, Montparnasse (1993) and Rhein I (1996).