Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Calgary
Edward Burtynsky’s photography is preoccupied with exploring the impact of human development on the planet, unveiling the frequently dramatic collisions between control and nature. An extended project begun in 2008 focussed on our use of water as a resource and the conflicts, shortcomings, and risks embedded in our relationship with it. Xiaolangdi Dam is deliriously sublime, almost abstract.
Set on the Yellow River, the titular structure is caught almost completely engulfed by a rushing deluge as it is released from the spillway. Silt and sediment carried by the river give it an otherworldly russet hue. The surging cloud of water is menacing, appearing as a towering nebula of swirling dust. Beautiful and ominous, Burtynsky’s images confront the turbulent relationship between progress and the natural environment.