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  • Articles by Sonali

    Water by Edward Burtynsky


    Following the oil series, Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has selected water as the subject for a series of photographs considering the impaired relationship between humankind and our natural resources. This compact but powerful exhibition, consisting of five large format photographs, examines the mega-scale systems imposed upon waterways, and their detrimental after effects.

    The exhibition includes images of hydroelectric dams, complex irrigation networks and the parched remains of dried up river beds, taken from an aerial perspective in obscure locations as far flung as Myrdalssandur, Iceland to Yuma, Arizona.

    The photographs really look like abstract paintings. Burtynsky’s apocalyptic picture of the Xiaolangdi Dam in the Yellow River in Henan Province, China 2011 has a striking resemblance to the work of J.M.W.Turner, who was equally concerned by the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, and its impact on the natural landscape in Great Britain.

    In Burtynsky’s photographs the blue/green spectral presence of water fans out like an artery struggling through a dry, brown wasteland. The photographs have an otherworldliness about them and carry a sense of foreboding, which perhaps sums up his significant environmental message.  Burtynsky’s photographs are both eerily beautiful and quietly unsettling.

    Water by Edward Burtynsky at the Flowers Gallery, 21 Cork St, W1 until 4 October 2014

     


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