The gallery, which opens on 19 May, will debut with two exhibitions – one from Edward Burtynsky; and a solo exhibition of works by New Delhi based Raqs Media Collective.
The Burtynsky show, entitled Burtynsky: Oil, presents a solo exhibition of works by the Canadian photographer as a decade-long survey. The works reveal the hidden mechanisms behind the manufacture, distribution and use of oil; revealing its impact on the environment and our lives.
The thirty images on show are divided into three sections – Extraction and Refinement; Transportation and Motor Culture and, most chillingly, The End of Oil – showing disturbing scenes of abandoned oil tankers and the toxic recycling grounds in Bangladesh.
On a similarly chilling, yet perhaps more subtle note are the two installation works on show in the Wolfson Gallery from Raqs Media Collective. Video projection An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale and sculptural piece 36 Planes of Emotion both explore themes concerned with ‘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’, according to the gallery.
Silent looped video work An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale features a series of altered British Library archive photographs from the 20th century to form a piece that aims to highlight the unnoticed subtleties of the events depicted. The result aims to create a sense that nothing is ever really as it seems. Meanwhile, 36 Planes of Emotion uses Perspex shapes that mimic the size and weight of books, arranged on a desk and illuminated in the darkened gallery space with wall-mounted reading lights.
Raqs Media Collective says, ‘Our thinking on things temporal occurs under the twin signs of interruption and potential. Interruptions interfere with the flow of how things are, potentials point to how they might yet be. Both these tendencies can be seen at work (and at play) in the works.’
Source: © the artist Courtesy the artist
Alongside these two shows, the gallery’s opening in its new building will be accompanied by a series of talks and events, including a talk by Liz Wells is Professor in Photographic Culture at Plymouth University, entitled Currencies of the Post-Industrial Sublime on 22 May; artist talks from Burtynsky on 24 May and from Raqs Media Collective on 16 June; film screenings and many others.
For more details visit www.photonet.org.uk
The Burtynsky: Oil and Raqs Media Collective shows run from 19 May – 1 July at The Photographer’s Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F