Andreas Gursky

Commande photographique sur les silos à grains de la région Centre, 1994

Andreas Gursky was the first artist-photographer to reply to the FRAC Centre’s commission involving grain silos in the Centre Region, in 1994. In these three large photographs, the grain silos appear far away, in the cross hairs or barely visible, awash in the immensity of the landscape around Beauce. Through this viewpoint, Gursky emphasizes less the architecture of the silos (they are tiny in the countryside) than their geographical installation (in the middle of the Beauce area), and less on how they function (we can make out no activity) than on their function itself (these are places for storing cereals). In one of the photographs, in fact, the silos almost merge with the horizon; in another, they are pavilions which divide the picture into two equal parts; in the third, all that remains is the landscape, the grass, the fields of cereals, and the sky. Far from being engaging, the spaces created by Gursky on the contrary present thresholds to be crossed, not to say obstacles. Here a dense shadow, a winding road, or erect rods bar any direct access to the image. And in this static world, there is no suggestion of any human presence. The austerity and the monotony of these landscapes are further heightened by the choice of a skyline dividing each image into two equivalent parts, thus establishing a vast panoramic view.

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