A steam turbine sits in the center of a dilapidated coal power plant. Long since its use, the rusty red and grey machine is a half cylindrincal shape that lies in the grainy ground. Graffitied pipes extend off of it to other parts of the building's weathered interior. Large, crooked windows line the red brick walls and green shrubs grow in the natural light.
London-based Collins works in the tradition of nineteenth-century “record pictures”: documentary photographs used in official and commercial record-keeping, which seek to capture a plethora of visual information, rather than the intention of the artist. To achieve the extraordinary level of detail that distinguishes his images, Collins works with a 5x4 format plate camera; he scans the glass plate and prints it at a large size. Here, Collins shows the massive steam turbine in the ruins of Pennsylvania’s last remaining anthracite coal cleaning and processing plant—an eleven-story structure slated for demolition in 2014, after local attempts to preserve Huber Breaker as a historic landmark proved unsuccessful. (For an exterior view of a different Pennsylvania coal breaker in use, see Mark Baum’s 1951 painting on view elsewhere in this exhibition.)
industries; interiors; labor; machines; realism; technology; time; deaths; ruins; decay
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