A colossal Norwegian cruise ship, a faceless crowd gathering during lockdown in a Brueghel-like landscape of snowy Dusseldorf, a wide and sinister Rhine: Gursky's large-scale photographs display a sense of loneliness, anonymity and ecological tragedy.
Some of his works reflect on the role of images in a society in which photography has become such a key part of our relationship with the outside world. Looking at the photos of slim, anonymous models on a catwalk, it is hard not to notice one’s own reflection in the glass of the picture frame. Oddly enough, it is our own imperfection that seems to bring some life into an otherwise clinical vision of perfect beauty.
Perhaps even more revealing of our dysfunctional world is the photo of an empty and very icy ski competition slope, with a big screen displaying a skier crashing. The snow is melting and nature is collapsing, yet we need to be entertained and the show must go on at all costs.
But there is a small respite such as a photo of a woman with a bucket on her head building a castle with wooden building blocks known as Kapla. The construction is about to collapse, which, for those who know and love Kapla, is one of the most exhilarating moments. Beyond the allegory to our ability and pleasure in destroying everything that we built, there is something quite humorous and tender in describing the tragedy and the repetitiveness of it all.
|What||Andreas Gursky at White Cube Bermondsey|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
29 Apr 22 – 26 Jun 22, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM