Edward Burtynsky

Aqua Shock

25.03.2018 until 27.05.2018

The Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) became world-famous with his breathtaking large-format photographs documenting landscapes altered by human hand, industrial terrains and urban agglomerations. His works are on show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Canada and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Burtynsky is concerned with natural landscapes exposed to constant threat and profound damage by climate change and oil spills. In his intensive work processes, he creates wide-ranging thematic series which bring out the destructive power of humanity and its effects in and on the natural world. These are not preachy photographs, but highly penetrating documents that need no words by way of explanation. His major motif cycles include ‘Oil’ (2009), ‘Quarries’ (2007), ‘China’ (2005), ‘Aqua Shock’ and currently the large-scale project ‘Anthropocene’, which he is due to complete in the course of 2018. His large-format photographs are fascinating by dint of their aesthetic beauty, but also frightening if we regard them as visible signs of manmade destruction and the massive plundering of nature.

On display are examples from his recent series ‘Aqua Shock’, for which Burtynsky crisscrossed five continents to explore extreme ecological situations and to record not only the reserves, but the use, distribution and waste of water. He reveals the dangers that lie in the ongoing exploitation of water resources. In his own words: ‘I wanted to trace the evidence of global thirst and threatened sources. Water is part of a pattern I’ve watched unfold throughout my career. I document landscapes that, whether you think of them as beautiful or monstrous, or as some strange combination of the two, are clearly not vistas of an inexhaustible, sustainable world.’ – Edward Burtynsky (Walrus, October 2013).

The project is being realized in association with Admira, Milan. Edward Burtynsky’s sole representative in Germany is Galerie Springer Berlin.

Meet Edward Burtynsky for an artist talk on 11 May at 6 pm. Before the artist will be honoured at "Photo London" as "Photographer of the Year", he will come to the Ludwig Museum and talk about his artistic subjects and the preservation of natural ressources.

Like the series 'Aqua Shock', the award-winning documentary film 'Watermark', produced by Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, is about our relationship with water - in a dramatic and impressive way. The film is shown during the exhibition.


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