University of Sussex
Mai,_Katia.pdf (1.8 MB)

Paintings of the future: photography in the digital age with particular reference to Andreas Gursky, Jeff Wall and their contemporaries

Download (1.8 MB)
posted on 2023-06-08, 15:09 authored by Katia Mai
The thesis investigates the oeuvre of Andreas Gursky, Jeff Wall and their contemporaries. It aims to provide an art-historical assessment, including the conceptual and philosophical context, complemented by an investigation of the production process of their photographs. One central focus is how the use of digital techniques and advanced printing technologies has affected their photographs. The thesis provides a traditional descriptive investigation and comparison of the artworks discussed; in addition, it relates these photographs to other art genres and thereby offers broader connections to the art world. This modus operandi is enhanced by the inclusion of specific writings on the history and theory of photography, wherein neither the art genres nor the theoretical sources are subject to any temporal or chronological restrictions. The thesis comprises six chapters: I. ‘What Happened to Baudelaire’s ‘Secretary’? The Role of Digital Technology in Contemporary Photography’ provides the theoretical framework for an understanding of photographic developments in the past, the influence of production processes, digital manipulation, perception and popular understanding of photographs. II. ‘Oscillating between Urmalerei and Urphotographie: Gursky’s Journey from Analogue to Digital’ examines Gursky’s use of analogue and digital photography through a number of case studies. III. ‘Images of our Time: Jeff Wall, ‘a Painter of Modern Life’ investigates Wall’s artistic development, by focusing on his utilization of Baudelaire’s concept of ‘the Painter of Modern Life’. IV. ‘Photographic Nuances and Variations: Contemporary Photographers in Düsseldorf and Vancouver’ analyses the academic environment of Gursky and Wall and their fellow students. V. ‘Suspense or Surprise: At the Interface between Photographic Images and Film Stills’ looks at the impact of the film genre on photography, and considers similar and comparable aesthetic and stylistic elements. Chapter VI provides a conclusion and a brief outlook in respect of photography.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Art History Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected