10 November 2011

Worlds Most Expensive Photograph ..

I have never been good at appreciating 'art', or so I believe, but this latest news of most expensive auction value for a photograph this week at 'Christie' has proven my ignorance of art to a new plane.

Rhein II (199) by Andreas Gursky - $4.3 million
The above photograph fetched $4.3 million (yes you read it right, thats Rs 20 crores) at an auction a couple of days back, making it the most expensive photograph in the world.
And the icing on the cake - it is believed that this is also photo-shopped. In his own words "I decided to digitalize the pictures and leave out the elements that bothered me."* (A. Gursky quoted in A. Ltgens, "Shrines and Ornaments: A Look into the Display Cabinet," Andreas Gursky: Fotografien 1994–1998, p. xvi). The art world describes Gursky work as large, disorienting landscapes. At once majestic and alienating, they don't require a lot of explanation. Sure they would not, there is indeed not much to explain here.

Of his work, Gursky has explained: "Maybe to try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe."

I have nothing against Mr. Gursky. Its my sensibilities that bother me. Maybe, art aficionados are able to see through this photograph which is invisible to me. maybe...

Well it does not end here. A quick search and I have here for you the other four most expensive photographs in descending order.
#2 Untitled#96 (1981)-  Cindy Sherman, $3.9 mil
#3 - 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), Andreas Gursky, $3.3 mil
#4 The Pond Moonlight (1904)- Edward Steichen, $2.92 mil
#5 Kremlin of Tobolsk (2009) - Dimitri Medvedev, $1.75 mil
I wanted to title this post "Is This Art", but I leave that for you to decide. 


57andrew said...

This takes absurdity to new levels. Someone has more money than sense and someone is taking the ****. I despair.

Cloudninetalks said...

oh..i am not so good at art to explain art and value these pics, but the photo shopped one just looks plain to me. 20 crores for that? Funny! As for the other pictures, the pond in the moonlight looks good.

Shas said...

I tried to look hard at the pic but there isn't anything in it that would make it the most expensive one. Others too are quite mediocre. The untitled and the Pond moonlight one are some what better. Probably the judges should enlighten the non-arty people with an explanation for their choice.

Nimish said...

The photograph does not speak to me or evoke any kind of curiosity. The fact that it fetched $4.3mn foxes me. But maybe the buyer has seen what we all may have missed. i dont see the point the photographer is trying to make in his foo-fah quote in the second para. its kinda saddening in a way, that there are so many wonderful photographers out there doing great work, some telling impactful stories and not getting enough funding. And this photoshopped photograph getting 20 crores! Ironic.

mayankpandey said...

@nimish - you have made a strong point. There are indeed many who struggle to make ends meet up work hard to show the society and contribute to journalism and here... From auction house scams, to black money laundering etc etc are just few of funny theories that are floating around.

Siddhartha Joshi said...

I guess I also do not understand art so well, hence I refrain from being an art critique. But, yes, the price definitely surprised me. But as they say 'Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder'...

mayankpandey said...

OH yeah Siddhartha, just that for this one, i am definitely not one of the beholders who find this beautiful. The world is art is quiet weird must add.