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Exhibitions Visited: Andreas Gursky

A review of the Andreas Gursky exhibition at Hayward Gallery I've written as an entry for a writing competition organized by Art Fund:

A favorite past time of mine is to people watch. Human beings are fascinating – with their coded behavior of nods and shrugs, passing time - staring into phones, opening and reopening apps like a new tech. SOS distress signal.

The Hayward gallery in London is a great place to people watch. Its large halls and visually uninterrupted floor plan seemed like an ideal place to house one of the finest people watchers of all, Andreas Gursky. The solo exhibition of the German photographer - a term too limiting for his work – explores the artist’s fascination with people and their environment from an almost alien like perspective.

The exhibition is a perfect opportunity to follow the evolution of Gursky’s practice from his earlier work in Düsseldorf, documenting landscapes and their estranged inhabitants to digitally manipulated compositions that capture veracity rather than object. Drowning us in the high-ification of his high definition large-scale photographs, the subject is infiltrated in each and every pixel for us to peer through and analyze – social and visual patterns emerging and disappearing, mimicking the social structures around us.

As I sat there on a bench on the second floor of the Hayward gallery, strategically placed for ideal people watching needs, you can’t help but look out into the world with new eyes. Eyes privy to patterns you forgot existed.

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