EDWARD BURTYNSKY "CARRARA QUARRY #2", 1993
Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) is one of Canada's most successful photographers.
While Burtynsky has worked around the world, one of the recurring themes in his work is the interaction of industry and environment. His images frequently document the consequences and processes of using the earth's natural resources.
Images of industrial and environmental sites are aestheticized. Desecrated lands become beautiful, resulting in painterly, almost abstracted images.
For “Carrara Quarry”, Burtynsky travelled to Carrara, Italy in the early 1990's in search of the quarry from which Michelangelo obtained his marble. It became a turning point in the artist’s career, venturing for the first time outside the American continent.
Burtynsky was so taken with the patina of the abandoned quarries in Carrara and the resurgence of nature on their grounds that he later travelled to India, China, and Portugal to continue the series.
Burtynsky wrote of his experience: “The surface of the rock-face would simultaneously reveal the process of its own creation, as well as display the techniques of the quarrymen”.
In this image, Burtynsky collapses space and scale. The enormous site appears as an incredibly detailed model, only brought into context by the small red buildings scattered up the hill. The viewer, with a sort of gods-eye view of the stone landscape, is put in power of the land.
Like the best of Burtynsky's images, the viewer can loose themselves in the color, texture and forms (as one does enjoying an abstract image) or scrutinize the minute details of the work, identifying elements that reveal the scale and detail, such as structures, ladders and vehicles.
"Carrara Marble Quarries #2, Carrara, Italy 1993"
Photograph on Kodak professional paper
Signed by the artist on verso
From an edition of 10
26.5"H 33"W (image)
37.5"H 44.5"W (framed)
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