IS Part 2 – Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade II, 1999

Analysis of Chicago Board of Trade II, 1999 by Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky is a german photographer who was born  in 1955 in Leipzig, East Germany. Since 2010 he was known as professor for Liberal Arts at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 1980 Gursky start his photographer career by entered the prestigious Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf.

Before the 1990s, Gursky did not digitally manipulate his images. “He started to increased the size of his photographs until 1990s he used the largest size of photographic paper on the market. It was at this time that Gursky also began to use digital technology for retouching and for altering his negatives. For some works, such as architectural subjects, he moved the camera between shots and then combined the negatives on the computer to make seamless, often panorama-like, images” (Andreas Gursky profile, – 2016).

Chicago Board of Trade II (1999) was produce in an edition of six. The large size photograph depicts the scene of trading floor of board trade in Chicago from the top view. Brokers with the bright jacket color stand in groups  around banks of monitors/ It show how dense of people while doing trading and the puzzled actions make the image looks blurred.


Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade II, 1999

Globalization and the photography of Andreas Gursky

“Globalization is a complex process that is partially governed and directed, partially the result of unpredictable and cumulative changes, which is unifying the work under the neo-liberal economic model but also fragmenting the experience of life under capitalism ” (Begg, Zanny 2005). Gursky explored a potential of globalization by using a photography and digital to manipulate sense of perception to the outer edge of credibility, creating a world we recognized which is partially imagined and not yet realized.

The way Gursky approach photography in the world of globalization has been less obviously influenced by the movement itself by shifted from the depiction of single solitary individuals towards crowd of people reflecting a general re-emergence of collective social activity.

In depictions of globalization, Gursky tend to portray a world that is becoming. The power of his images lies in his sense of possibility, he creates an imagined world that connect in an different way to the world of today.

Contemporary art of Photography


This is one of practice example by Jeff Wall, which is often described as tableau photography, for a pictorial narrative is concentrate into a single image or a stand alone picture. In the mid-twentieth century, photographic narrative  was often played out sequentially, printed as photo series in magazines. Although many of the photographs illustrated here as part of large bodies of work, narrative is loaded into a single frame. In other words contemporary photography shows an understanding of how scene can be choreographed and the viewer can recognize the story is being told.

Politics and Contemporary photography
Aesthetics as politics or activist art without aesthetics. It is fracture across which contemporary art photography moves back and forth. It is a link that cannot be separated to the fact which no amount of clever theorisation can be eliminate or divide. Even in wall’s photograph, it staged and designed for the camera in a manner which continues to be distinct from most photo practice. Secondly, In Gursky’s Chicago Board of Trade II (1999) have a painterly effect, especially when approached from a distance. But the real power of both pieces comes from their almost  literal engagement with the complexities of scale and finance that shape contemporary experience.

These are aesthetic pieces which operate with activist intent whether or not their creators imagine them as such. They may be viewed mostly in museums or books, but they engage in a politics that does not have only aesthetic in mind.

In my opinion, contemporary art looks challenging to be understand. Because of the contemporary theory itself looks complex and it need more comprehension research. For instance, Chicago Board of Trade II somehow looks disoriented because of the color and dense object in it which gonna make the dizzy or boring because it is too complicated to see. Another opinion that I can add is the meaning globalization is like how the artist can create an art without limit these days; theme, everything in universe that could be input into an art creation because if we look back to the past that when an artist try to put a topic/theme especially about politics & cultural it will became a very sensitive topic and create controversy that could bring your whole career down especially in my country in old days.


**  Begg, Zanny. “Recasting Subjectivity: Globalisation and the Photography of Andreas Gursky and Allan Sekula.” Third Text 19.6 (2005): 625-636.
**  Szeman, Imre, and Maria Whiteman. “The Big Picture: On the Politics of Contemporary Photography.” Third Text 23.5 (2009): 551-556.
**  Cotton, Charlotte. The photograph as contemporary art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004.
**  Smith, Terry. “The state of art history: Contemporary art.” The Art Bulletin 92.4 (2010): 366-383.
**  Smith, Terry. What is contemporary art?. University of Chicago Press, 2009.
**  Andreas Gursky profile,; accessed 15 March 2016.
** Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. “Prof. Andreas Gursky”. Retrieved 14 July 2014
** Al-Rodhan, R.F. Nayef and Gérard Stoudmann. (2006). Definitions of the Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition
** Cowen, Tyler; Barber, Benjamin (May–June 2003). “Globalization and Culture”

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