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Edward Burtynsky

Three Gorges Dam Project, Wan Zhou No. 2, Yangtze River, China


Edward Burtynsky
Born in Saint Catharines, Ontario, in 1955


Three Gorges Dam Project, Wan Zhou No. 2, Yangtze River, China


2002, print 2003


Chromogenic print, artist's proof 1


101.2 x 127.2 cm


Purchase, Harry W. Thorpe and Mona Prentice Bequests, inv. 2005.25


Graphic Arts

The Three Gorges dam is one of the world’s most ambitious and costly engineering projects. Completed in 2006, its construction boosted industrial and economic development through hydroelectricity and provided flood protection. However, it led to the destruction of numerous villages, the displacement of millions of inhabitants and major changes to ecosystems. In 2001, the Chinese government admitted that the project had caused social and environmental damage. This photograph is one of a series taken in China by Edward Burtynsky during the destruction of villages caused by the building of a dam on the Yangzi River. Instead of showing only part of the site, as he often does, here, the artist chose to reveal the full magnitude of the project. This large-scale approach likens him to photographers Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Candida Hofer and Thomas Struth.

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