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Andreas Gursky (B. 1955)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTOR
Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)

Singapore Börse 2

Details
Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)
Singapore Börse 2
signed ‘Andreas Gursky’ (on a label affixed to the reverse)
chromogenic colour print back-mounted to Plexiglas in artist's frame
image: 51.7/8 x 92.3/4in. (131.8 x 235.6cm.)
overall: 69.1/8 x 108.1/2in. (175.6 x 275.6cm.)
Executed in 1997, this work is number one from an edition of six
Provenance
Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne.
Lewis Kaplan, Paris.
His sale, Phillips de Pury & Company London, 29 June 2008, lot 14.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Exhibited
Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Andreas Gursky Fotografien 1994-1998, 1998, p. 6 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 7; illustrated, p. 16 and titled Singapore, Symex). This exhibition later travelled to Winterthur, Fotomuseum Winterthur; London, Serpentine Gallery; Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; Turin, Castello di Rivoli, Musei d'Arte Contemporanea and Lisbon, Centro Cultural de Belém.
Amsterdam, Huis Marseille Foundation for Photography, Take Five!, 2004, pp. 67 and 153 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 68-69).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Lot Essay

‘Few artists have managed to distil the specific characteristics of a certain culture, the mindset of a generation, or the zeitgeist of an era into a single work. Just as a handful of iconic paintings have shaped our view of the Renaissance, so too has Andreas Gursky captured the essence of the economic and social situation of the late twentieth century’ (N. Zimmer, Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, 2007-2008, p. 69).

‘[the subject of the stock exchange] is not the trading floor glimpsed at a given moment through the eyes of a unique observer, but the identity of the whole operation, including all of its unseen machinations – not so much a particular place… as the stock market in general, as a global institution, or, further as not merely an economic institution but a model of contemporary behaviour’ (P. Galassi, Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2001, pp. 29-30).

Vast and absorbing, Andreas Gursky’s Singapore Börse 2 is densely packed scene composed of distinct crystallised details. Taking the Börse or stock exchange floor as its subject, the image presents the traders like industrious bees in a hive; when seen from this god-like vantage-point, these kaleidoscopic elements cohere into an awe-inspiring whole. The dramatic portrayals of stock exchanges are among the artist’s most celebrated works and include the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, 1994, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Chicago Board of Trade, 1997, Tate, London, with Singapore Stock Exchange, 1997, in the collection Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Executed on a monumental scale, the multitude of distinct hubs of activity in Singapore Börse 2 compels the viewer to scrutinise every detail. Inviting the viewer through a labyrinthine corridor, the composition divides itself, leading to the very heart of the stock exchange where traders clad in brilliant red, blue and gold smocks jostle. Picking out the chromatic tones, Gursky imbues compositional order from the frenzied scene by deftly enhancing the primary shades throughout, subtly varying them so that the viewer subconsciously senses the chromatic links in an overarching system that knits the whole picture together. Contained within the modular geometry of the outdated white cubicles, Gursky has captured the relic of the trading floor in its heyday in the months before the Asian financial crisis that gripped much of Asia beginning in July 1997. Indeed, the entire series was inspired by the rampant energy of the Asian financial markets in the 1990s: having seen a newspaper photograph of the Tokyo stock exchange in 1990, Gursky was inspired to create his own images of the stock exchange. In Singapore Börse 2, the image stands as a metaphor for the financial philosophy of an entire generation, as Kuntmuseum Basel curator Dr. Nina Zimmer identifies: ‘few artists have managed to distil the specific characteristics of a certain culture, the mindset of a generation, or the zeitgeist of an era into a single work. Just as a handful of iconic paintings have shaped our view of the Renaissance, so too has Andreas Gursky captured the essence of the economic and social situation of the late twentieth century’ (N. Zimmer, Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, 2007-2008, p. 69).

Through this compositional arrangement of colour and form, Gursky creates order from chaos and imparts a harmony to this otherwise hectic scene. ‘The crowds of people in his photographs of the stock exchange are all involved in the uninhibited accumulation of capital… All of them are typical of a form of human gathering that has emerged along with the turbo-capitalism of the late twentieth century’ (N. Zimmer, Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, 2007-2008, pp. 83-85). Indeed as Peter Galassi, curator of the artist’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, noted, the subject of the stock exchange ‘is not the trading floor glimpsed at a given moment through the eyes of a unique observer, but the identity of the whole operation, including all of its unseen machinations – not so much a particular place… as the stock market in general, as a global institution, or, further as not merely an economic institution but a model of contemporary behaviour’ (P. Galassi, Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2001, pp. 29-30).

Gursky’s enduring fascination with and continual revisiting of Stock Exchanges are informed by his tutelage by Bernd Becher at the Dusseldorf Kunstakademie. Just as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s ‘Typologies’ of pre-Nazi industrial architecture appear as documentary-like observations of their changing landscape, the Platonic quality of Gursky’s observations can be seen as a reflection of contemporary behaviour. As the artist gained world-wide recognition in the 1990s, Gurksy’s personal travels were reflected in his desire to seek out images that represented the global age in which we live.

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