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signed 'Andreas Gursky' (on a label affixed to the reverse)
chromogenic print, in artist's frame
93 1⁄2 x 118 3⁄4 x 2 1⁄2in. (237.5 x 301.5 x 6.2cm.)
Executed in 2002, this work is number four from an edition of six
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2009.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Andreas Gursky, 2007 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
London, Sprüth Magers, Andreas Gursky, 2007, pp. 98 and 143 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour, p. 99).
London, Tate Modern, Global Cities, 2007 (another from the edition exhibited).
Düsseldorf, NRW Forum, Spectacular City: Photographing the Future, 2007.
Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, Andreas Gursky, 2007-2008, p. 121 (illustrated in colour, pp. 106-107).
Darmstadt, Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, Andreas Gursky. Architecture, 2008, pp. 72, 74 and 110 (illustrated in colour, p. 73).
Krefeld, Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Andreas Gursky: Werke, Works: 80-08, 2008-2009, p. 254 (another version exhibited and illustrated in colour, p. 199). This exhibition later travelled to Stockholm, Moderna Museet and Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Another work from the edition is currently held within the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Collection, Germany.


Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale


Andreas Gursky’s Copan is an enthralling depiction of the Edifício Copan in downtown São Paulo. The building, one of the largest in Brazil, was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1966; it is famed for its undulating façade, a swell of concrete which Gursky has skilfully captured in his majestic panorama. Created in 2002—the year that the artist’s landmark touring exhibition completed installments at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris—Copan reflects Gursky’s enduring interests in architecture and structure. The artist first began to explore these themes decades earlier when he studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Like his teachers’ ‘Typologies’ of pre-World War II industrial architecture, Gursky’s photographs too abstract their subjects’ formal elements. As with his celebrated Paris, Montparnasse (1993), Copan eliminates all but the traces of human presence, foregrounding the colours and shapes of the structure itself. Despite his enduring interest in architectural form, few of Gursky’s photographs capture a building in its entirety; Copan is a rare example of an epic exteriority. The work is part of an edition of six, examples of which have been exhibited at Tate Modern, London, Kunstmuseum, Basel, and the Haus der Kunst in Munich, among others.

Executed on a monumental scale, Copan invites the viewer to scrutinise every bijou feature of Niemeyer’s Modernist icon. Yet despite the heightened detail and chromatic richness—despite the photographic veracity—this is an invented scene. Its consistent focus is beyond the possibilities of the human eye or a single photographic frame. To create a view onto the world which few have the privilege to see, Gursky knits together multiple photographs to produce one composite image which he then prints using traditional processes. Copan, as such, is more real than reality. ‘Since 1992,’ he recalls, ‘I have consciously made use of the possibilities offered by electronic picture processing so as to emphasise formal elements that will enhance the picture or, for example, to apply a picture concept that in real terms of perspective would be impossible to realise’ (A. Gursky, quoted in L. Cooke, ‘Andreas Gursky: Visionary (Per)Versions’, Andreas GurskyPhotographs from 1984 to the Present, Munich 1998, p. 14). His photographs seek transcendence; by finding order within the chaos of life, Gursky reveals a contemporary sublime.

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