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56mm-open end spanner (custom-made tool), with various uses for turbine equipment, 1Kg, length 380mm, from the series The Time Machine
View In My Room

VIEW IN MY ROOM

56mm-open end spanner (custom-made tool), with various uses for turbine equipment, 1Kg, length 380mm, from the series The Time Machine Photograph - Limited Edition of 1

Edgar Martins

Photography, C-type on Aluminium

Size: 15.7 W x 19.7 H x 2 D in

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About The Artwork

The Time Machine is a multifaceted body of work, which was shot in 20 hydro-electricity generating plants in Martins' native Portugal, between 2010 and 2011. The images enclosed in this submission focus solely on one aspect of this work: a documentation of oversized tools and custom-made industrial paraphernalia. Working closely with the EDP Foundation, Martins gained exclusive access to several power stations built between the 1950's and 1970's, a time of hopeful prospects of rapid economic growth and social change. Their tacit raison-d’être was to fuel the country’s expansion and propel it into a prosperous future. Forty years on, no more than half a dozen people, including specialists and cleaning and security staff, run places which, in some cases, were intended to house up to 250 workers just a few decades ago. These people and their families were intended to live in real villages, hubs of population and urban development in a future which, today, has ultimately emerged as uninhabited. At each dam, computerised mechanisms now regulate the production and distribution of energy. This has alienated the concrete and immediate power by which reality is governed and concentrated the control of a complex hydroelectric system in a distant centre. Although the power stations were conceived at a time when man and machine envisaged a shared future, today, the desertification of the technical sites which house the machines (as well as the natural and human landscapes where the dams were constructed), allude to the paradox of this impossibility, and reveal the broken promises of this unrealized prospect of modernity. The objects and tools recorded in this series not only testify of the ingenuity and ambition of the vision they were built to serve, but also exist as simulations of portraits - portraits of absent bodies. Worn and visceral, and now largely obsolete, unlike the pristine environments they are housed in, these tools are representative of the work force that once used them. The depiction of tools (as well as empty chairs, desks, etc) is a way of inserting people back into the images, albeit by further emphasising their absence. The photographs in The Time Machine are, therefore, not just about the generation of power but also of dreams and technological utopias. Because the future announced there is here now; and now we know that nothing has happened in the way that the ideological narrative of the modern wanted us to believe that it would.

Details & Dimensions

Photography Print:C-type on Aluminium

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:1

Size:15.7 W x 19.7 H x 2 D in

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Edgar Martins was born in Évora but grew up in Macau. In 1996 he moved to the UK, where he completed a BA in Photography at the London College of Printing & Distributive Trades, as well as an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art (London). His work is represented internationally in several high-profile collections, such as those of the V&A (London), the National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), RIBA (London), the Dallas Museum of Art (USA); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon), Fundação EDP (Lisbon), Fondation Carmignac (Paris), among others. His first book—Black Holes & Other Inconsistencies—was awarded the Thames & Hudson and RCA Society Book Art Prize. A selection of images from this book was also awarded The Jerwood Photography Award in 2003. Between 2002 and 2014 Martins published 7 separate monographs, which were also received with critical acclaim. These works were exhibited internationally at institutions such as PS1 MoMA (New York), MOPA (San Diego, USA), Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis, USA), Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), Centro de Arte Modern de Bragança (Bragança, Portugal), Museu do Oriente (Lisbon), Centro Cultural Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro), The New Art Gallery Walsall (Walsall, UK), PM Gallery & House (London), The Gallery of Photography (Dublin), Ffotogallery (Penarth, Wales), The Wolverhampton Art Gallery (Wolverhampton, UK), amongst others. In 2010 the Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian (Paris) hosted Edgar Martins’ first retrospective exhibition. In 2014 The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation/Modern Art Centre hosted the official launch of The Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, a project developed in partnership with The European Space Agency. Edgar Martins was the recipient of the inaugural New York Photography Award (Fine Art category) in May 2008. In 2009 he was also awarded the prestigious BES Photo Prize (Portugal), as well as a SONY World Photography Award (Landscape category). In 2010 Edgar Martins was nominated for the Prix Pictet 2009 and awarded 1st prize in the Fine Art— Abstract category of the 2010 International Photography Awards. Martins was selected to represent Macau (China) at the 54th Venice Biennale.

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