Caspian: The Elements
Albina Visilova, a regular visitor to the Naftalan Sanatorium, Naftalan, Azerbaijan, 2010. © Chloe Dewe Mathews
Caspian: The Elements features the evocative imagery of Chloe Dewe Mathews, the 2014 recipient of the Peabody Museum’s Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography. The exhibit documents her extraordinary five-year journey through the contested borderlands of the Caspian Sea: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and Iran.
"Chloe Dewe Mathews’s exhibition immerses the viewer into the striking Caspian landscape through enormous murals of ice flows, rocky terrain, raging fire, and viscous oil," said Ilisa Barbash, the Peabody Museum's Curator of Visual Anthropology. "Photographs of people living and working in these landscapes communicate their complex relationship with their environment." The exhibit reveals the essential role played by elemental materials like oil, rock, and uranium in the practical, artistic, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of daily life. Caspian: The Elements is a powerful photographic narrative that explores the deep links between the peoples of the Caspian and their enigmatic and coveted landscapes.
“The views of people and lands are striking, even startling. They are beautiful and terrifying and always enthralling,” said Jeffrey Quilter, the William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum. Dewe Mathews’ fellowship work “is an outstanding example of contemporary photography that both embraces and breaks through the boundaries of documentary, ethnography, and fine art.“
Selected press for Chloe Dewe Mathews' Caspian: The Elements (Peabody Museum Press/Aperture 2018)