Saturday September the 21st and Sunday September the 22th, 2019 / from 10 to 19
Anti-aircraft shelter of Piazza I Maggio (Udine)
Guided tours with the artists / 25 people are allowed at the time. For guided tours and reservations: email@example.com
In the severe and unadorned frame of the anti-aircraft shelter of I Maggio square, the After Hiroshima exhibition is presented to the audience in a new format. The exhibition aims to be a participatory reflection, a generational comparison and a reworking of the archetypal images linked to the explosion of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, dissected in the languages of cinema and in contemporary video art.
Michihiko Hachiya, director of the Hiroshima communications hospital, reflecting on what happened after the bombings of 6 and 9 August 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wrote in his “Diary of Hiroshima” (1955): “September 22nd, 1945: Very few were the patients now, we had almost nothing to do but sit and wait; consequently I was led to meditation. After days and days, it was the first time they had left me alone, and I was comfortable with objectively rethinking the past “. As of September 22, 1945, Michihiko Hachiya was” brought to meditation “by the visitors of the bunker on September 21 and 22, 2019, to” rethink objectively about the past”.
From the testimony buttons presented by contemporary artists, viewers will be called again, after more than fifty years, to investigate the heavy heritage of the atomic conflict. The blinding radioactive light, the mushroom cloud and the archive footage that then became archetypes of fear in the Japanese imagination and others, stimulate a personal reworking by the young artists involved in the event in order to exorcise the deadly and destructive nature that still it grips new generations, rebuilding a strong connection between the Great War (mother of all contemporary wars) and the atomic bomb. In this multi-focal comparison focused on the contemporary legacies of this human disaster, fragments of the two cinematographic works Pioggia Nera (1989) by Shoei Imamura and Children of Hiroshima (1952) by Kaneto Shindo – the latter presented in 1953 with success at the Festival of Cannes – which evocatively, though realistically, face the representation of the day of the explosion.
The multiple works Sweet Obliteration (2014) by Kailum Graves will find space between the heavy walls of the bunker. The Australian artist works on the manipulation of the images of the atomic mushroom that, by hammering repetition, from deadly symbol of destruction ends up taking on a familiar meaning, faded and “(Nuclear) Kitsch”, quoting the words of the artist.
It will be possible to attend, on the spot, the performance Bombard of the Vietnamese artist Kimvi Nguyen. In the performance the artist works, through the body and the energy of his breath (until to the point of exhaustion) gives a representation and elaboration of the mourning of war: she will inflate many balloons to fill an entire bunker room, and with an allegorical explosion, evocative of shots and bombings, she will evoke the historical memory of the shots and explosions, in an attempt to exorcise the fear and the trauma. The performance explores the contrasting themes of war, protection, shelter and the unknown.
The performance will perhaps allow to exorcise the fear of the explosion through the familiarization with common objects evoking the lightness of childhood; however, where the child is afraid of bursting balloons, the adult fears the possible atomic disaster. As the poet William Wordsworth would have written “The child is the father of the man”.
The bunker hosting the exhibition, built during the Second World War, to give shelter to the citizens of Udine following the continuous aerial bombardment, becomes an integral part of the installations themselves, a frame that penetrates into the images projected with its bare aesthetic, albeit sounding, with a reverberating sound .
The videos require a possible participatory meditation also thanks to the realization of the event inside the Bunker, a unique location, able to create a caesura, a hermetic isolation from the chaotic daily life, rejoining those who access it with their memories of the war experience handed down from the collectivity, from history books, from the hazy ghosts of the past.