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Catherine Yass

Catherine Yass has found beauty in China’s monolithic Three Gorges Dam, says Andrew Mead

The last film I saw by the artist Catherine Yass was shot from a crane on a building site at Canary Wharf. Now Yass has roamed further afield to record one of the largest construction projects in history – the Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River – and the results are at the Alison Jacques Gallery in central London until 23 February. The main exhibit is Lock: two films projected simultaneously on opposite walls of the gallery, looking forwards and backwards from a ship as it negotiates one of the locks that circumvent the dam. On a hazy day we glide to a halt between high concrete walls, watch the water level slowly rise, and then emerge cautiously onto the Yangtze as the massive lock-gates slide shut behind us. Tiny figures scuttling around on the ship’s prow give a sense of scale, while sudden outbursts of sound bring the scene alive.

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