Petroleum Borealis - Tanja Engelberts

1 December - 16 February at Galerie Caroline O'Breen
Since a couple of years Tanja Engelberts has been on the trail of the fossil fuel industry. This year she developed Petroleum Borealis during a residency at the Banff centre for arts and creativity in Canada. The tar sand industry, its scale, history and environmental impact fascinated her, encouraged her to visit the Athabasca area.

Looking over the riverbanks that surround the Athabasca Tar Sands, it is hard to comprehend that this far stretching landscape with its sticky dark earth is of any value. However, 4 million barrels of oil are extracted out of this soil daily; it contains Canada’s largest oil fields. In Petroleum Borealis, Tanja Engelberts captures the tragic result of the fossil fuel industry. She uses actual tar sand to print various images. The texture hereof stands as a tangible memento for a landscape lost by destruction. Some of these prints have the sand scraped off, leaving only a ghostly trace of a landscape. Other prints are produced with the dull black carbon of petro coke: a heavy residue from the oil refining process. The installation is tied together by texts from Man and Nature by George P. Marsh. He was the first to write about man-made climate change in 1864. Describing the discomfort that comes with irreversible consequences, but also voicing the excitement of technological development and the resilience of nature.

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