Nuclear power plants, paper mills, coal mines – for twenty years Tania Mouraud’s video and sound installations have shown the immensity of environmental industrial sites around the world to audiences removed from a direct experience of such sites’ power and effect.
In the exhibition Everyday Ogres, Mouraud presents a new work that expands her efforts to the Gulf Coast. Commissioned by the Visual Arts Center with the support of the Cultural Service of the French Embassy in Houston, Mouraud traveled to Texas in June 2016 to film oil refineries along the Houston Ship Channel: sites that represent the dangerous monumentality and surreal everydayness surrounding energy use and production in the United States. Filmed at night, the installation captures a haunting vision of metal cities filled with toxic smoke and threatening power.
The exhibition includes two earlier works filmed in Germany, Canada and France, which situate her Texas-based installation within larger global dialogues. In the gallery’s bay window,Mouraud has also installed a new site-specific typographic wall painting featuring a quotation from Modest Mussorgsky’sopera Khovanshchina. Stretching from floor to ceiling, the abstracted text has an imposing presence that mirrors the nearby videos while forming a bridge between the outside world and the gallery’s interior space.
By immersing viewers in the powerful visual and sonic landscapes of industrial sites, Mouraud’s works push us to recognize our implicit presence in the powerful forces that shape the current social, ecological, and political realities of energy production in Texas and the world.