09 December 2012

Terrifying beauty?

Photos from an exhibition (April 2011 or thereabouts) at the gallery next to White Cube Hoxton Square (that's how well memory serves, at the moment). It had lots of photos of the A-bomb in the 1940s and 50s.
The internet to the rescue - the gallery was Daniel Blau, and the show  (its inaugural exhibition) was subtitled "pictures of disaster". Indeed.

"The image of the atomic bomb is one of unique and horrific beauty: The pictures of atomic bomb explosions – ranging from New Mexico USA, to the actual and affecting George R. Caron photographs shot from a military plane over Hiroshima – stand as representations of the difference between sublime artwork and frightful document.

"This exhibition incorporates a variety of photographs, including US Navy and Air Force images of nuclear bomb tests by Edgerton and Eyerman – the former a scientific photographer and the latter with tendencies towards surrealism. This unique and historic collection of images span the period 1945 – 1970 to form a visual narrative full of power, horror and agressive beauty."

I took home one of the 48-page newspapers - a good format for a catalogue of these photos, because of the size (a bomb blast is a big thing) and the ephemerality of the newsprint, as well as its tactile and visual qualities.

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