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Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Hong Kong Stock Exchange
signed, titled, numbered and dated ‘Hong Kong St Exchange 2000 1⁄6 A. Gursky’ (on the reverse); signed with the artist’s initials 'A. G.' (on a studio label affixed to the reverse)
chromogenic print face-mounted to Diasec, in artist's frame
image: 56 ¼ x 96 1⁄8in. (143 x 244cm.)
overall: 73 ½ x 113 x 2 3⁄8in. (186.8 x 287 x 6cm.)
Executed in 2000 and printed in 2023, this work is number one from an edition of six
Galerie Monika Sprüth, Cologne.
Private Collection, Düsseldorf.
Schönewald Fine Arts, Düsseldorf.
Private Collection, London.
White Cube.
Private Collection, USA (acquired from the above in 2006).
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 11 February 2015, lot 63.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Frankfurt Neue Börse AG (ed.), XL-photography. Art Collection Neue Börse, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000 (illustrated in colour, pp. 43 and 111; titled 'Börse Hong Kong II' and dated 1995).
D. Frankel (ed.), Andreas Gursky, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2011, no. 54 (illustrated in colour, p. 39; dated 1994).
Foundation Carmignac (eds.), Foundation Carmignac, Porquerolles, Paris 2012 (illustrated in colour, pp. 42-43; titled 'Hong Kong Stock Exchange II' and dated 1998).


Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale


Spanning an impressive width of almost three metres, Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2000) belongs to Andreas Gursky’s documentations of the world’s financial markets. First photographing the bustling trading floors of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1990, Gursky went on to capture the activity of traders in Hong Kong, Singapore, Chicago, New York, and Kuwait. The series of ten images, executed across three continents and over a period of twenty years, is undoubtedly the German photographer’s most iconic body of work. In this signature large-format composition, Gursky exhibits his distinguished, almost anthropological eye and meticulous photographic idiom. The Hong Kong trading floor seems organised under an impossibly geometric order; the rectilinear arrangement of white desk units and computer monitors accentuate a plunging perspective, forming a visual spectacle that is at once stimulating, and mathematically controlled. Begun during the 1990s, the series coincided with the artist’s pivotal adoption of digital technologies to manipulate, edit, and enhance his images, and here, frozen in eternity, Gursky’s industrious scene speaks to the ever-relevant subject of globalisation.

Observed from an elevated, somewhat removed vantage point, Gursky’s gaze is one of curious objectivity. Capturing the entirety of the floor’s extraordinary detail with uncanny, equal sharpness, the photograph defies the focus of human the eye. Blazers and shirts hang from coat hangers on the sides of units, sheets of paper clutter desks and the central electronic projector flickers with yellow, pixellated stock prices. Scrutinised under an almost microscopic lens, the mundane activities of traders become utterly transfixing. Sitting, slumped or stretching from within neatly articulated rows, their minute facial expressions, interactions, and gestures compress into a tessellation of coloured specks. Strongly informed by his training at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under esteemed photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gursky’s work carries through the disquieting yet visually compelling effects of seeking pattern and geometry in modern-day industrial infrastructures. ‘My pictures are becoming increasingly formal and abstract’, the artist reflected in 1998. ‘A visual structure appears to dominate the real events shown in my pictures. I subjugate the real situation to my artistic concept of the picture … an overall organisational principle’ (A. Gursky, quoted in L. Cooke, ‘Andreas Gursky: Visionary (Per) Versions’, in Andreas Gursky: Photographs from 1984 to the Present, exh. cat. Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf 1998, pp. 13-16).

Gursky’s photograph demonstrates an interest not only in the documentation of a global financial site, but in revealing and accentuating its overarching visual schema. It was in fact with this series that the artist began to adapt his practice, introducing the use of digital software to manipulate his images in what would become his career-defining working method. Combining traditional photographic technologies with new, Gurksy scanned his negatives to produce digital files, which, displayed on a screen, he could edit and adjust. Tampering with his image in this way, the artist stages a series of technical interferences that form a dialogue conventional painterly methods. Repetition of shape, colour, and pattern is not incidentally recorded by the photograph, but meticulously designed. Visually and technically daring, in Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Gursky invites the viewer to examine and pour over the abstract and dazzling machinations of global trade.

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