One point everyone mentions about Andreas Gursky’s method is that he intervenes digitally to painterly effect. So, for example, ‘Paris, Montparnasse’ (1993) presents an impossible perspective on the architecture of a block of flats because it is built up from many separate shots taken from two viewpoints so that all the dwellings are presented exactly front on. Nor is that image unusual in revealing Gursky’s interest in architecture, whether in the built environment or in social contractions. That’s one reason that the 68 work retrospective (to 22 April) suits the Hayward Gallery, the refurbished brutalist spaces of which Gursky likes . One validation of the painterly nature of what Gursky is doing with photographs is provided by the coincidence that a painter is currently on show doing something rather similar, and with the Hayward building at that! The Scottish artist Renny Tait, known for depicted idealised architectural landscapes, includes ‘Hayward Blue Sky’ in his current show at Flowers in Cork Street (‘Thresholds to Brighter Worlds’, to 17 Feb). Tait adds a central tower to the design, so bringing out the resemblance to a castle, rather as Gursky seeks to get at what might be called ‘the reality beneath appearances’ through his digital interventions. The contrast in scale is pretty severe, though: the Tait is 61 x 76 cm, the Gursky 187 x 431 cm: the days of big paintings vs small photographs are long gone!
Renny Tait: ‘Hayward Blue Sky’, 2017 – Oil on canvas, 61 x 76 cm
Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?