The exhibition is a component of The Anthropocene Project, a multidisciplinary initiative from the award-winning trio of photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.
The Project’s starting point is research from the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), an international group of scientists advocating to officially change the name of our present geological epoch, Holocene, to Anthropocene, in recognition of the changes humans have made to the Earth’s systems. The AWG’s research categories, such as anthroturbation, species extinction, technofossils, and terraforming, are represented and explored in various media as evidence of our species’ permanent planetary impact.
Anthropocene is co-organized with the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada, where a concurrent exhibition will be staged this fall, and the MAST Foundation (Manifattura di Arti, Sperimentazione e Tecnologia), Bologna, Italy, where the show will travel in the spring of 2019.
The three artists created a series of compelling visual experiences, using both new and traditional lens-based media, in order to capture scenes of our human signature, and to convey the complexity and significance of the Anthropocene age. The artists travelled to locations as diverse as Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Australia and Germany. For the artists, no single medium alone is capable of conveying the necessary urgency or creating the necessary impact.
The exhibition will be anchored by about 30 new and newly released large-scale dramatic colour photographs by Edward Burtynsky, all of which show signs of human activity, including striking scenes of mines, landfills, cities, agricultural sites, deserts and forests.
Edward Burtynsky is one of the world’s most respected photographers. His imagery captures scenes of human impact on the land, and his remarkable photographic depictions of industrial landscapes around the world are displayed in leading galleries and major museums, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. The National Gallery of Canada organized and toured the first retrospective of Burtynsky’s work, Manufactured Landscapes, in 2003.
Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal
and Nicholas de Pencier
Art Gallery of Ontario
Through 6 January 2019