Lot # 613
Prints Multiples & Sculptures Online auction

Edward Burtynsky
OC RCA 1955 - Canadian

Old Factories #9, Fushun Aluminum Smelter, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China
digital chromogenic print
on verso signed, titled, editioned 2/9 and dated 2005 on the artist's label
39 x 49 in  99.1 x 124.5cm

Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection

Lori Pauli et al., Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, 2003, page 48

Edward Burtynsky’s photographs from 2002 to 2005 of industrial China are both art and documentary, which makes them fascinating on many levels. What we see in Old Factories # 9 is a relic of old industrial China, focused on the heavy metal production of the late 1970s and 1980s that fell out of favour in the wake of China’s move towards the new processes of industrial manufacturing.

Burtynsky chose to frame this photo devoid of people. As a photographer he is always careful of what he includes and excludes from any given image, and this old factory could be likened to a ruin. Burtynsky stated, “I started thinking about ruins and the kinds of emotions they provoke. Throughout art history the ruin has been a subject of contemplation, of something melancholy and monumental. I think a lot of what I photograph are the ruins of our society, the ruins in the landscape, the things that are left behind.”

What impresses in this image is the depth perspective and the vastness of the factory itself. The viewer has a telescopic vantage point, starting with a wide angle that narrows toward a tiny opening of light at the end of the factory tunnel. It is symbolic, as for China the wave of mass production and economic growth that followed had enormous social, cultural and political implications. Burtysky’s photographs of China are significant on numerous levels, and are appreciated by art historians, anthropologists, sociologists and the general public alike.


$15,000 ~ $20,000 CAD

Starting Bid: $14,000 CAD
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