Oil. Beauty and Horror is the Petrol Age | Wes Bell
Photo Credit: "Snag" by Wes Bell
The exhibition "Oil. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age" takes a speculative, poetic look back at the presence of the modern age of petroleum, which has lasted for roughly one hundred years. No other substance has shaped societies in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as much as petroleum. Airplanes, tanks, and spacecraft, motorways, shopping malls and suburban settlements, nylon stockings, mountains of plastic, and vinyl – key materials and technologies, lifestyles and visions of our time owe their existence to the energy density and transformability of oil. Now, however, the dusk of the “petrol age” is looming, whereby neither can its end be precisely dated, nor its consequences adequately assessed. From the distance of a hypothetical future, we ask what was typical of our time, what was great and beautiful, what was ugly and terrible, and how all this is reflected in art and culture.
The exhibition is located at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany and presents the world’s first retrospective of the global modern age of petroleum.
Participating in this exhibition are three Canadian artists: AUArts Alum Wes Bell, Edward Burtynsky, and Warren Cariou.