the work of WIND AIR LAND SEA

near gale
14–23 SEPT. 2018


Ed Pien

Hydra is an installation that activates multiple sites in the exhibition area including along the edge of the Petro Canada brownfields and adjacent to the CRH Cement Plant, which are on Treaty 13A land, ancestral to the Mississauga Nation. Hydra grapples with the crisis of near-irreversible environmental damage. Exploring trauma, complicity, and the possibility of bearing witness, Hydra also foregrounds the potential for community resilience and encourages collective responsibility, positioning hope and vitality as starting points for negotiating forces of environmental destruction that are both within and beyond human control.


Hydra consists of a network of water pipe systems connected to above-ground swimming pools equipped with electrical pumps that push water through the pipe system. Hydra’s water configuration and circulation allude to the complex and intricately balanced water networks that sustain the Earth. The installation also makes reference to the circulatory systems of living beings, and to our collective vital dependence on water, while the swimming pools attest to privilege, excess, and waste. Hydra’s overall configuration and working system points to extraction, and the intentional leakage of the system recalls the endless episodes of leaked pipelines and sunken oil tankers marking the surface of the Earth.



Ed Pien lives and works in Toronto. He has received a BFA from Western University and a MFA from York University. Pien has shown extensively in venues including the Drawing Centre, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum; The Canadian Culture Centre, Paris; The Goethe Institute, Berlin; The Art Gallery of Ontario; Musée d’art contemporain Montréal; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; The Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Musée des beaux-arts Montréal; Songzhuang Art Centre, Beijing; the National Art Gallery of Canada; and at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts. He has participated in the Montreal Biennale; the Sydney Biennale; the Moscow Biennale; the Beijing Biennale, as well as the Curitiba Biennial, Brazil.