(Re)FineArt. Large oil, chemical and steel plants have been the symbols of our industrialized world for more than a century. But they have also been the focus of environmental problems, as shown by the recent case of the Ilva plant in Italy. Yet, there is a further perspective allowing us to look at these modern cathedrals in a different way: architectural art. Such is the perspective which led me into one of the largest oil refineries in Europe, that is the refinery in Schewchat (Vienna, Austria). As a matter of fact, the title of this project – which may sound a bit conceited, but in my view displays an amusing pun – refers to the industrial refining process, while combining it with the concept of art. At first, my request to get access to the inside area of the plants for artistic purposes – and not for any journalist reasons – was met with slight surprise by the Refinery’s management. However, they soon expressed interest and a helpful attitude towards it. For obvious safety reasons, I previously had to undergo a brief course on the rules of conduct as well as a test assessing my understanding of the course contents. I also had to wear the required protection wear: a helmet, a suit and fire resistant boots, specific glasses for the areas closer to the plants. Also, for the entire time of my visit I was accompanied by a car of the internal unit of fire-fighters. I owe to them the photograph of me “at work”.
This article is reserved for subscribed members only. If you are already a member, you can log in here below.
Subscribe for full access to The Eye of Photography archives!
That’s thousands of images and articles, documenting the history of the medium of photography and its evolution during the last decade, through a unique daily journal. Explore how photography, as an art and as a social phenomenon, continue to define our experience of the world. Two offers are available.
Subscribe either monthly for $5 or annually for $50 (2 months offered).