Photographers Gallery London Reopens With two International Exhibitions

Raqs Media Collective and Edward Burtynsky Exhibitions relaunch west end institution

The Photographers Gallery will launch its new gallery dedicated to British and International photography on Saturday 19 May 2012.The Gallery’s opening will bring to conclusion their ambitious £8.9 million redesign which was supported by Arts Council England’s Lottery Fund, alongside with generous corporates and private donations.The gallery was designed by award-winning Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey, who transformed the building with a two storey extension doubling the exhibition space and giving the gallery a cool sleek feel.

The opening exhibitions will be Raqs Media Collective 19 May – 1 July 2012, Wolfson Gallery a solo exhibition of works by New Delhi based Raqs Media Collective. The show will feature two distinct but related installation works: a video projection titled An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale (2011) and a sculptural piece entitled 36 Planes of Emotion (2011). With characteristically playful use of language and form, these contrasting works invite the viewer to explore themes concerned with the fluctuation of time, the transfer and transformation of ideas, and the relationships that exist between the said and the unsaid, the seen and the unseen.
 The gallery will also host Edward Burtynsky’s Oil 19 May – 1 July 2012, Lloyd & 5th Floor Galleries and This is a major solo exhibition of works by renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. A decade-long survey on the subject, Burtynsky: Oil reveals the rarely seen mechanics of the manufacture, distribution and use of one of the world’s most highly contested resources, while exploring its impact on our lives, culture and the environment.
Invisible, for the most part, in the visual landscape of our everyday lives, we are nonetheless surrounded by it. From the fuel that runs our cars to the synthetic fibres found in our clothes, oil is everywhere. Bridging the disconnect between our consumer world and that of the oil industry, Burtynsky’s large-scale photographs, rich with detail and transfixing in their clarity, take us on a journey. Starting at the source Burtynsky shows us international drilling sites and refineries, then continues to distribution methods and the motor culture of freeways, eventually, leading us to the inevitable end of oil at scrap-yards, recycling grounds and abandoned oil fields.

Showcasing over thirty images the exhibition will be divided into three sections:

Extraction and Refinement describes the process of distillation via aerial views of oil fields, drills and rigs spread across miles of land, networks of pipelines travelling through the countryside and factories constructed as mazes of metal tubes.

Transportation and Motor Culture, as made possible through petrol, is depicted in complex images of highway interchanges and connections, panoramas of endless rows of vehicles lined-up in vast parking lots and of car enthusiasts gathered in masses to take part in related events and sporting competitions.

The End of Oil displays the consequences of its use as considered by the artist. Burtynsky transforms this unprepossessing subject matter into skilfully composed photographs of industrial and manmade landscapes. Epic scenes of demolition document derelict oil tankers split apart while disturbing images of the toxic recycling grounds in Bangladesh reveal the dangerous conditions in which workers operate.

Edward Burtynsky said: In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany. It occurred to me that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for over twenty years were only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine…These images can be seen as notations by one artist contemplating the world as it is made possible through this vital energy resource and the cumulative effects of industrial evolution.

Burtynsky: Oil was organised in close collaboration with Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam, Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto and the artist himself.

Exhibition address:

16 – 18 Ramillies Street London W1F 7LW


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