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Pocinho Power Station: Equipment Unloading Dock, from the series The Time Machine
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Pocinho Power Station: Equipment Unloading Dock, from the series The Time Machine Photograph

Edgar Martins

Photography, C-type on Other

Size: 59.1 W x 47.2 H x 2 D in

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About The Artwork

The Time Machine is a body of previously unseen works, shot between 2010 and 2011. Structured as a topographic survey of hydro-electricity generating plants in Martins’ native Portugal, The Time Machine "records spaces and objects that characterise a suspended time, that of the modern: machines and rooms which simultaneously place us in genuine science-fiction settings and in an unavoidable field of nostalgia”. (J. Pinharanda) Working closely with the EDP Foundation, Martins gained exclusive access to 20 power plants located across the country. Many of the power stations were 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, and now largely automated, most of the power stations are operated by half a dozen employees at the most, including specialists, cleaning and security staff. Computerised mechanisms regulate the complex hydroelectric system, which underpins the production and distribution of energy, lending consistency to the fantasy of machines ruling over man. Although the power stations were conceived at a time when man and machine envisaged a shared future, today, they allude to the paradox of this impossibility, and reveal the broken promises of this unrealized prospect of modernity.

Details & Dimensions

Photography:C-type on Other

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:59.1 W x 47.2 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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