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May 2, 2016

Exhibition documents human effects of climate change

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University presents an exhibition featuring photographs and video by internationally renowned photographer Gideon Mendel, “Gideon Mendel: Drowning World.”

An expansion of a series Mendel has been developing for nearly a decade, the exhibition documents the global magnitude of climate change through the immediate experiences of individuals, including portraits of flood survivors within the remains of their homes or other submerged landscapes central to their livelihood.

On view May 13–Oct. 16, “Gideon Mendel: Drowning World” includes works created during travel within Thailand, Nigeria, Germany, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil and the United States. A single-channel video titled “Water Chapters” adds dimension to the still portraits and chronicles the daily routines of individuals amidst floodwaters. The 35-minute work features eight chapters on subjects from each country visited.

The Broad MSU exhibition will also premiere works in Mendel’s new “Watermarks” series, which chronicles the dramatic modifications floodwaters have on personal photographs. Mendel has created large- scale prints of these small, individual objects, reflecting the magnitude of the collective effects of climate change on individual and communal memory.

“Mendel’s powerful work uncovers the very personal effects of flood events around the globe, humanizing many of the statistics related to these disasters,” said Caitlín Doherty, curator of the exhibition and deputy director of curatorial affairs at the Broad MSU. “For this exhibition, Mendel has created new, large-scale prints that further emphasize both the personal and the global ramifications of climate change, confronting us with familiar images dramatically altered by natural forces.”