Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)
Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)

Prada III

Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)
Prada III
signed, titled, dated and numbered (on the reverse)
color coupler print
67 x 118¼ in. (170.2 x 300.4 cm.)
Executed in 1998. This work is from an edition of six.
Anon. sale; Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, 12 November 2001, lot 40
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
S. Gronert, D. Diederichsen, R. Rugoff, et al., Grosse Illusionen: Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Edward Ruscha, Bonn, 1999, p. 64 (another example illustrated).
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Lucinda Devlin, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer: Rooms, 1999, pp.36-37 (another example illustrated and exhibited).
Kunstmuseum Bonn and Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Grosse Illusionen: Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Edward Ruscha, October-August 1999, p. 64 (another example illustrated and exhibited).

Lot Essay

Andreas Gursky is the photographer of the contemporary world. Training his lens on all manner of living and working today, he has forever transformed how we see. Gursky has given us a new visual vocabulary in which to comprehend the massive changes that have been brought on through globalization. His attentive looking at the complex relationship that humanity has with the landscape and itself, has produced a vast body of work that explores an ever increasing engagement with the sublime.

At the core of Gursky's practice is an interest in commerce, whether the production, trade or sale of goods. This circulatory system that is the life blood of human life has provided Gursky with his most memorable images. At times, Gursky even omits the figure completely; allowing the absence to resonate.

Prada III is the height of this means of photography. Reducing and expanding the display case of a luxury boutique, Gursky has transformed mundane sweaters into sublime counterpoints within a found minimalist sculpture. The garments soften and humanize the rigor of the composition. "Behind Gursky's taste for the imposing clarity of unbroken parallel forms spanning a slender rectangle, for example lies a rich inheritance of reductive aesthetics, from Friedrich to Newman to Richter to Donald Judd" (P. Galassi, "Gursky's World" in Andreas Gursky, Museum of Modern Art, p. 35).

In this way, Prada III synthesizes the language of high modernist formalism with the documentary impulse of photography. The scale of the work allows for the photographic print to approach the physical power and impact of sculpture. Gursky asserts a new position for the discipline within its historic relationship with the other arts. Through his use of multiple negatives and digital technology, Gursky can produce photographs that exceed reality in intensity, perspective and scope. Freeing the practice from its traditional limits, Gursky has posited that the photographer be afforded same freedom as a painter or sculptor in constructing worlds.


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