Escaping the vortex of comfortable yet damaging habits is a great challenge, but change is harder to think about than to face. Chris Jordan knows this well. At 40 he chooses to leave a law career and the culture of consumerism that he used to defend becomes the subject of his art.
Inspired by the works of Andreas Gursky and Richard Misrach, he studies large format photography, attracted by the superior quality of detail.
As a post-modern archaeologist, he explores ports, industrial areas, landfills, on location and in studio. The more he sees, the more he perceives the contradictions, confusion and absurdity of what he calls “a slow-motion apocalypse”.
In front of his photographs, it’s impossible to remain oblivious. Choreographed and interpreted with great artistic sensitivity, Jordan’s works denounce a growing degradation. From a distance, his images seduce the eye, while up close they spark the mind and engage the heart.
“I belong to a community of thinkers, artists, poets and scientists who are aware of how unsustainable our present model of consumption has become – but we’re on the margins of society: at the center there is an immensely powerful machine controlled by industry, oil companies and politicians, people who live in total denial and just don’t see how devastating the effects of consumerism are, not only for nature but also for the human psyche” says Jordan.
Running the Numbers and Running the Numbers II, ongoing series from 2006, look at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. A collective voracity that nobody wants to be responsible for. “People enjoy discovering the multiple layers of my images”, says Chris.
“During exhibits they ask questions, get passionate and upset, but their motivation is like the stroke of an oar: it creates a whirlpool that slowly expands and disappears in the current.”
We know we’re destroying the planet yet collectively nothing seems to change. The cumulative effects of mass consumption are not sustainable. Only our conscience can evaluate the damage, choosing to care and to believe that our daily actions matter.