Frank Döring, Untitled (Jänschwalde lignite mine), 2011, archival pigment print, 36 x 44.5 inches
January 23 - February 26, 2013
Institute 193, Lexington
Döring's photographs document the landscape and culture of the coal-rich Lausitz region of southeastern Germany. The images in this exhibition track the coal industry’s impact over several years, recording the evacuation and destruction of entire towns, the extraction and incineration of coal, and the eventual reclamation of the land for a wide variety of recreational uses. His work serves a dual purpose: as a record of physical change, and as a didactic medium that helps shape perceptual attitudes and practices.
Though Döring has turned his lens on a specific region of Germany, extractive industries also play a major role in the culture and economy of Kentucky, where coal is implicated in an array of political controversies and environmental issues. This exhibition includes images of destruction that will be familiar to Americans accustomed with the coal-mining regions of Appalachia. However, Coalscapes also features startling pictures of creatively reclaimed landscapes -man-made lakes, sculpture parks, tourist attractions- that may encourage viewers to rethink the possibilities of post-industrial landscapes and reassess their assumptions about coal’s pervasive influence.
A complete collection of Döring’s photographs and writings from this project can be accessed at www.coalscapes.com.