Robert Koch Gallery is proud to present Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s highly anticipated Anthropocene project, his seventh exhibition at the gallery since 1999. Five years in the making, Anthropocene presents powerful and poignant works by Burtynsky mapping the impact of human intervention on planet Earth. Anthropocene will be exhibited concurrent to the release of the artist’s sixth Steidl monograph of the same title, and his film documentary collaboration with filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier; in conjunction with two museum exhibitions, one at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the other at the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada.
For thirty-five years, Edward Burtynsky’s diverse photographic projects have led him around the world, investigating the complex intersection of industrial growth and environmental consciousness. Burtynsky’s previous subjects range from the repetitious patterns of orderly uniformed factory employees, extending to urban renewal centers, housing projects, recycling yards, rock quarries, to the haunting skeletons of decommissioned shipping vessels and containers.
The title of Burtynsky’s newest body of work, Anthropocene, refers to a proposal circulating in the scientific community to formally recognize the commencement of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, or “Human Epoch”. This transition — a controversial idea currently under vigorous and passionate international debate — would represent a formal recognition and acknowledgement of what Burtynsky, Baichwal and de Pencier call the “human signature” on the planet, which has deeply influenced Burtynsky and his focus on this project over the past five years.
Edward Burtynsky’s works are held in the collections of over 60 major museums around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid; and the National Gallery of Canada. Burtynsky is a recipient of the 2004 TED Prize honoring individuals who have shown they can positively impact life in a global context, as well as the ICP Infinity Award for Art (2008), the Rogers Best Documentary Film Award (2006), The Outreach Award at the Rencontres d’Arles (2004), and the Roloff Beny Book Award (2003). The National Gallery of Canada organized and toured in 2003 the first retrospective of Burtynsky’s work, Manufactured Landscapes, which subsequently travelled to the The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, at Stanford University.