EDWARD BURTYNSKY "STEPWELL #2", 2010
Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) is one of Canada's most successful photographers.
A noted filmmaker, entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Burtynsky is known internationally for his large-scale images often focused on the interaction of industry and natural resources.
His images present a tension between beauty and desecration, highlighting global industrial change. His landscape photographs document aerial views with incredible detail beyond the human eye.
Stepwell #2 is taken from Burtynsky’s Water series, his largest body of work, and depicts the Panna Meena stepwell in Rajasthan, India. This ambitious series elevated his practice to new heights as he visited nine countries between 2007 and 2013 to explore the vital relationship between humans and water. The Water series depicts religious and cultural traditions, the realities of climate change, and the urgency of resource depletion.
Stepwells are an important place for both water and social gathering. They are created by a vast network of walls and staircases that descend and provide access to ground water in extremely dry areas. The Panna Meena stepwell, built in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, is an astonishing architectural accomplishment that recalls the complexity of an MC Escher drawing.
Stepwell #2 shows how human intervention can transform a landscape, creating an unintentionally beautiful environment. The cracked, fragmented and abandoned terrain is a prime example of Burtynsky's career-long fascination with the visual and physical effects of water scarcity...and ingenuity. Today, not surprisingly, the water at the base of this Indian stepwell is no longer potable, yet the impressive structure still exists.
Evocative of Burtynsky's best images, this work is simultaneously seductive for its rich texture and graphic composition, yet tragic as it reminds the viewer that the earth's resources are fragile and not infinite.
Today Edward Burtynsky's work can be found in over 50 museum collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Guggenheim, The MoMA and the Tate Modern.
Additional images available on request.
"Stepwell #2, Panna Meena, Amber, Rajasthan, India, 2010"
Digital Chromogenic color print
Signed and editioned by the artist.
From an edition of 9
39"H 52"W (image)
Framed with museum glass
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