About This Artwork
A student of conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Andreas Gursky takes an ordered, indexical approach to his work. Capturing scenes with enormous amounts of visual information, Gursky subtly enhances and adjusts the structure of his photographs, enabling viewers to assimilate and consume more than possible with our eyes alone. 99 Cent is a clear example of Gursky’s alteration of an image for a totalizing effect. Modifications such as the arrangement of the store’s product aisles and the addition of a mirrored roof flatten the iconic work. The spectacle of consumerism appears composed in an organized, rigorous, formal fashion. The presented image is hyperreal. While it is rooted in reality, it is somehow more than real; it is familiar and yet there is no physical space quite like it. By portraying such heightened constructions of our shared existence — from the dollar store to the soccer field to the sprawling cityscape — Gursky’s photographs act as symbols of contemporary life.