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Armin Linke

Ertan Dam, Downstream Side, Panzhihua (Sichuan), China


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Armin Linke travels throughout the world documenting the effects of globalization, the transformation of cities into megalopolises, and the social and political consequences of massive industrial expansion on human living conditions. This photograph, which shows the construction of a gigantic hydroelectric dam on the Yalong River in Sichuan Province, China, emphasizes with its extreme of scale the diminutive stature of the individual faced with his or her own disappearance. The Chinese workers fishing in the water appear like miniature actors in a giant panoramic stage set, overshadowed by the sheer physical and technological power of the concrete structure holding back the flow of nature. Linke’s work has been described as exploring notions of the contemporary sublime, and this photograph is no exception. Here he alludes to nineteenth-century depictions of man’s powerlessness before the immensity of nature by evoking sensations of disorientation, awe, and profound fragility in the face of an entirely man-made environment. [Permanent collection label, 2017]

  • Artist Armin Linke (Italian, b. 1966)
  • Title Ertan Dam, Downstream Side, Panzhihua (Sichuan), China
  • Date 1998
  • Medium Chromogenic color print mounted on Plexiglas
  • Edition description 1/5
  • Dimensions framed | 39 1/2 x 78 7/8 x 2 in.
  • Credit line University purchase, Art Acquisition Fund, and with funds from Hon. and Mrs. Thomas Eagleton, 2004
  • Object number WU 2004.0005

Atrium installation Summer 2007
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/11/2007 - 08/31/2007

Atrium installation Fall 2006 and Spring 2007
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 10/25/2006 - 04/29/2007

Gallery Klosterfelde

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