The renowned Canadian landscape photographer’s work produced across the African continent from 2015 to 2019 is presented in Hong Kong for the first time. Photographed predominantly from aerial viewpoints, Burtynsky’s works often have a flattened frontal aspect, transforming the image into graduating colour fields or vigorous grid-like compositions, reminiscent of Modernist abstraction. Presented at a large scale, their painterly surfaces and gestural marks reveal the coalescing designs of both nature and human infrastructure.
The exhibition coincides with the artist’s new book ‘African Studies’, published by Steidl.
The artist reflects on landscapes undergoing rapid industrial and manufacturing expansion. Focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa, his images present environments shaped by processes of resource extraction, from the salt pans of Senegal to the ‘residual landscapes’ of mechanised extraction such as ‘Wesselton Diamond Mine, Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa’ (2018). The stunning works chronicle the major themes of terraforming, extraction, agriculture and urbanisation, developing a long-standing preoccupation with the unsettling reality of the human imprint on the planet.