The exhibition will be available beginning in April of 2018 in Asia, Europe and North America.
For over 35 years, James Balog has been a leading artist in visually exploring the radical impacts of humans on climate and the environment. Through his photographs, films, lectures, and essays, he has captured the magnificence of the world’s oldest trees; looked into the eyes of animals on the brink of extinction; tracked the rapid disappearance of the world’s glaciers; and documented the resulting rising seas. Most recently, he has focused on the devastation wreaked by hurricanes along the eastern coast of the United States, and pursued untamed wildfires in the American West. Through these stunningly beautiful and engaging images, backed by a deep understanding of science, Balog has gained international respect as a critical voice in the discourse surrounding climate change. As such, this is an especially important and timely exhibition given the political unrest and retrenchment that threaten to unravel years, if not decades, of progress in environmental protection.
The proposed retrospective look at Balog’s work will provide museums and their audiences with a powerful and engaging multi-platform look at environmental issues. It will include the exhibition of 150 photographs, organized according to Balog’s major projects associated with the ancient Roman concepts of fire, earth, air, water, flora and fauna; an illustrated catalogue of the exhibition with a major text by curator Anne Tucker; screenings of two related short films and his Emmy award-winning film Chasing Ice; and a video interview with Balog explaining his ideas, motives, and creative strategy. The exhibition will be accompanied by the timed release of Balog’s forthcoming memoir that will take readers through his often dangerous journeys to understand and visualize human alteration of the Earth’s elements and inhabitants, and a new feature-length documentary film about the Anthropocene, tentatively titled Catching Fire. In addition, we will provide the exhibition with substantial online support, including a new website and strong social media presence. This exhibition would be of interest not only to the general museum-going public, but also to universities and school groups, as well as corporations that strive to educate their employees.
Balog’s images have the capacity to both seduce and shock audiences. His inventive and transformative uses of photographic techniques have changed the way we perceive our environment. To document glacial retreat, he developed and deployed 43 time-lapse cameras at 24 glaciers—each shooting one image every half hour during the daylight—that have captured 10 years of dramatic melting around the world. He was the first to photograph endangered animals in improvised studios, producing portraits against blank backdrops (Endangered Wildlife, 1987-97). And he produced portraits of the world’s giant trees, survivors of post-Columbian deforestation, using hundreds of different exposures to stitch together images that could fully capture the extreme height and width of these rare specimens, (Changing Forests, 1998-2004). These project-appropriate variations will enhance viewers’ fascination and engagement with his very personal but scientifically grounded view of our world.
In collaboration with FEP, Prestel Verlag will publish two books related to the artist’s work: one will be an illustrated catalogue of the exhibition with a major text by curator Anne Tucker; a second will be written by the artist about his experiences as an environmental photographer.