About This Artwork
Andreas Gursky’s Amazon captures a rare moment of calm in a warehouse of the giant online retailer, devoid of the workers who typically occupy the space. The image is in crisp focus, filled with row after row of miscellaneous goods in no discernable order. In this timely work, Gursky adeptly illustrates a mass distribution system built from algorithms, its patterns so complicated as to appear odd or even random. The enormous operation inspires an archaeological approach. The artist uncovers a stratum of the contemporary cultural landscape through the documentation of an excessive amount of artifacts. What is exposed is the extreme individualization that results from consumerism, which, here, ominously approaches chaos. The company’s motto, “work hard, have fun, make history,” is seen on the columns in the background, reading more as a command than a suggestion. The viewer is left to ponder whether this mandate is directed at the workers, the consumers, or both.