Hayward Gallery celebrates its 50th anniversary with the first major UK retrospective of the work of acclaimed German photographer Andreas Gursky.
Gursky, known for his large-scale, often spectacular pictures that portray emblematic sites and scenes of the global economy and contemporary life, is widely regarded as one of the most significant photographers of our time.
Exhibition marks 50th anniversary
Andreas Gursky marks the beginning of the Hayward Gallery’s 50th anniversary year and is the first exhibition to take place in the gallery following its two-year refurbishment, along with two of Southbank Centre’s other venues, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. For the first time since the Hayward’s original opening, the gallery’s pyramid roof lights will allow natural light into the spaces below.
Artwork on display
The exhibition will feature approximately 60 of the artist’s ground-breaking photographs, from the 1980s through to his most recent work, which continues to push the boundaries of the medium. Gursky’s art is driven by an interest, and insight, into forms of collective existence and includes depictions of massive man-made structures and huge gatherings of people in nightclubs, factories, arenas, and vast landscapes. As he has stated: ‘I only pursue one goal: the encyclopedia of life.’
The exhibition includes some of the artist’s most well known works including Paris, Montparnasse (1993), an immense and iconic photograph showing a seemingly endless block of flats; and Rhine II (1999/2015) a sleek digitally-tweaked vision of the river as a contemporary minimalist symbol. Kamiokande (2007) featuring the vast underground water tank within the Kamioka Nucleon Decay Experiment, Japan; and May Day IV (2000/2014) depicting hundreds of revellers at Germany’s long-running Mayday techno music festival. Often employing a bird’s-eye perspective, these large-format pictures – which rival the scale of monumental paintings – boast an abundance of precisely captured details, all of which are uncannily in focus.