Edward Burtynsky


“Eaux troublées” exhibition explores the controversial relationship between humankind and water: the most precious liquid, essential resource for life, basic part of our body, planet and living.
Between 2009 and 2014 Edward Burtynsky travelled to five continents – from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ganges riverbanks – to capture the life cycle of water. He followed the course of rivers and studied the seas; he has described the different uses of water from worship to farming and he has once again peered beneath the surface of things, as is typical of him.

Actually, the photographic work of Edward Burtynsky is the result of a refined ability to investigate and synthesise. The analysis starts with a precise study of the impact of human progress on the Earth and goes on with the accurate research of exemplary sites. The synthesis is expressed by images which are able to gather the multiplicity and transform it into symbols by means of an aesthetic that satisfies the senses and invites to contemplation. For carrying out the work about water, Burtynsky has used advanced technologies, necessary considering the immensity of the subject. Aerial shots (from helicopters and drones) actually characterise the project and astonish us because of the difficulty to grasp the visual scale and the abstraction of subjects. The result is always amazing, never boring, since one is first fascinated by the awesome depiction of places and only after can go beyond the illusion of endless landscapes, until becomes conscious of the actual subject. Burtynsky uses sublime images to move public opinion: “Since it is by means of culture that one raises his consciousness and builds his history. And through culture one can make man aware of the consequences of his actions”. His art is then necessary, for provoking, informing and involving, beyond national boundaries, since the environment is a global topic like nothing else and urgent like our basic needs.

The artist offers amazing images which actually make an impact, since they portray us, the human beings that shape the world according to the logic of greed; however, the Earth is exhausted and utters a cry for help, also by the art of photography. The words of Burtynsky are a clear and simple message: “What one gives to the future are the choices one makes today”.

Enrica Viganò, curator of this exhibition.