by Antonin Kratochvil, Maciek Nabrdalik and Donald Weber
Curated by Johan Hallberg-Campbell*
April 26-May 30, 2011
VII Gallery, New York
The VII Gallery will be open until 8:30pm on May 5, 2011 for 1st Thursday Dumbo Gallery Walk.
Images: Antonin Kratochvil, left, Donald Weber, right
VII photographers Antonin Kratochvil, Donald Weber and Maciek Nabrdalik have been working independently in and around the Forbidden Zone of Chernobyl, traveling into the abandoned City of Pripyat as well as its eerily overgrown green countryside. Together they have amassed one of the definitive records of the Chernobyl disaster, creating a stunning collection of photos documenting the secret evolution of the post-atomic disaster area, pictures that reveal a haunted world. A modern city once filled with atomic engineers and nuclear physicists was lost forever to calculus error and a culture of obsolescence. Disaster happens to highly advanced societies, but what happens after the steel fences go up?
Today the photographers have found a strange society re-imagining Chernobyl. In the empty villages, post-atomic pioneers hunt radioactive wild boar; the New Rich build villas equipped with Geiger-counters just a few kilometers from the destroyed reactor known locally as the “Chernobyl Riviera”; while in the weed-choked ruins closer to the epicenter, silent “Stalkers” hunt for metal salvage they can sell on the black market.
Life goes on, as it should.
Twenty five years after the disastrous meltdown of April 26, 1986, the story of today’s living Chernobyl is told through the pictures of Kratochvil, Weber and Nabrdalik, garnished with additional observations by Kratochvil’s students from his many workshops in the area and contextualized by vintage images by the former residents of Pripyat.
* Johan Hallberg-Campbell is a photographer and curator living and working in Toronto with clients including The Red Cross Canada, The Big Issue, Scots Magazine and The Walrus. Johan has exhibited his work widely in Canada and Scotland as well as curating over 30 exhibitions in the last two years.
VII Photo gratefully acknowledges the support of Gotham Imaging for their handmade digital prints.
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