January / February 2014
Weekdays 11 – 5:45 p.m.
The predominant theme of Edward Burtynsky’s work is ‘nature transformed through industry’. His photographs search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear and are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence. Burtynsky’s work does not seek to impose any political views or perceptions onto the viewer. As he has stated, his photographs “are what they are”. For him, the onlooker undergoes a “duality” in the viewing process, a “duality” that consists of the aesthetic interpretation, characterized by rich colour and a lot of detail on one hand, and the confrontation with the devastation and destructed nature that is shown, on the other hand.
Burtynsky (1955) started his career capturing Canada’s unspoiled landscapes before turning his focus from the world we were losing, to the world we were to inherit. Reflecting on his personal experience working in the automobile and mining industries, he slowly began exploring human invasions into land. His series, titled ‘Manufactured Landscapes (2003) ‘Before the Flood’ (2003), ‘China’ (2005), ‘Oil’ (2009) and his most recent project ‘Water’ (2013) all follow the same format, giving an encyclopaedic exploration of a broad theme through a series of connected chapters and locations.
In 2006, Burtysnky was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. A winner of numerous international prizes and awards for his body of work, Burtynsky’s film ‘Watermark’ (2013) was most recently awarded with the coveted Toronto Film Critics Association Top Prize. His work can be found in the collections of over fifty museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the National Gallery of Canada.
Markarfljót River #1, Iceland, 2013
© Edward Burtynsky, Courtesy Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto