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Following the success of Edward Burtynsky's 1999 exhibition, the Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to present a series of new work by this Canadian photographer. In concert with a recent expedition to the Far East, Edward Burtynsky has set out to chronicle the shipwrecking depots of Bangladesh. He has returned with a series of photographs that seamlessly expands upon his preoccupation with the relationship between humanity's industrial progress and its effects upon the Earth's environment. Exquisitely detailed and exactingly rendered, these large-scale color photographs document the many facets of humanity's quest to harness and traverse the natural landscape. From the portraits of ship-workers to the graveyards of ocean-liners both magnificent and monstrous, these images confront the viewer with unmatched scale and grandeur.

Representative of his entire career, and referencing his series on Recycling, Burtynsky's 'Shipbreaking' series strikes a intricate balance between a somber sociological reportage and a powerfully abstract and beautiful aesthetic. In his photographs, the eerily sublime and otherworldly palette of the Indian Ocean becomes a backdrop for the monumental debris that litters the shipbreaking yards. Beneath this colossal landscape, awash with subtle colors and stark geometry, stands the image of the Bangladeshi laborers. They have been swept into the Lilliputian task of dismantling these gigantic industrial relics with little more than their bare hands. As viewers, we are asked to ponder the irony and the complexity of this grand cycle of creation and destruction.

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1955, Edward Burtynsky graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical University in Toronto with a B.A. in Photographic Arts. His work will be the subject of an upcoming career retrospective, with catalog, at the National Gallery of Ottawa, Ontario (2003); and has been exhibited at institutions including the McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario (2000); the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario (1996); the Vancouver Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia (1991); and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (1989). His work is in many collections including those of the Bibliotheque National, Paris, France; and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Quebec.