Edward Burtynsky

Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, India

2013
Edward Burtynsky’s latest series, Water, focuses on systems of human management of nature. Humanity’s relationship with water is not simply one of biological need. Rather, it is multifaceted, realized through complex social systems such as religious rites, engineering projects and massive alterations of nature. To convey the idea of humanity’s engagement with and disengagement from landscapes of its own creation, Burtynsky mixes documentary and painterly motifs. Several works present the land as abstract patterns and shapes from a bird’s-eye view; closer inspection reveals buildings and structures, and thus reassurance of human scale. Ultimately, the artist hopes his images will prompt thinking about our present use of water and how, with all our cleverness, we might be “engineering our own demise.”
Title
Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, India
Date
2013
Medium
Photograph
Materials
chromogenic print
Dimensions
122 x 243 cm; image: 122 x 243 cm
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 2014
Rights
© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Accession number
46050