19 May - 1 July 2012
Burtynsky: OIL is a major solo exhibition by renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. A decade-long survey on the subject, Burtynsky: OIL reveals the rarely seen mechanics of the manufacture, distribution and use of one of the world’s most highly contested resources, while exploring its impact on our lives, culture and the environment.
Showcasing over thirty images the exhibition is divided into three sections:
Extraction and Refinement describes the process of distillation via aerial views of oil fields, drills and rigs spread across miles of land, networks of pipelines travelling through the countryside and factories constructed as mazes of metal tubes.
Transportation and Motor Culture, as made possible through petrol, is depicted in complex images of highway interchanges and connections, panoramas of endless rows of vehicles lined-up in vast parking lots, and of car enthusiasts gathered in masses to take part in related events and sporting competitions.
The End of Oil displays the consequences of its use as considered by the artist. Burtynsky transforms this unprepossessing subject matter into skilfully composed photographs of industrial and manmade landscapes. Epic scenes of demolition document derelict oil tankers split apart, while disturbing images of the toxic recycling grounds in Bangladesh reveal the dangerous conditions in which workers operate. This section features a more recent development of the series and includes three images taken during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Burtynsky: OIL was organised in close collaboration with Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam, Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto and the artist himself.