So, taking a break from writing about my different painting series to mention an exhibition one of my pieces, 'A Black Rain over Hiroshima', is currently being shown in. After Hiroshima (and Beyond) is a show organised by IoDeposito, an Italian NGO (you can check them out at www.iodeposito.org). It started yesterday and will run until the end of October and features the work of 11 artists from 9 different countries, including yours truly, at the B#S Gallery in Treviso.
From the text published by the exhibition: "At the outbreak of the bomb, first there was light: a blinding fireball, that invested everything with unprecedented power. The artists Elin Slavik, Andrew Cole, Deimion Van Der Sloot and Uros Weinberger represent the atomic lightning from different points of view - by absence, in a materic or minimal way: light is the protagonist of a multifaceted reflection on the role of memory between past and present". And a bit more: "Andrew Cole captures the flash of light and paints the black rain of death that poured over the city".
A Black Rain Over Hiroshima (2016), Acrylic on paper
(40 cm x 30 cm)
Adorno said, in a different context, that writing poetry after Auschwitz was barbaric, and I have similar conflicted feelings regarding the portrayal of the bombs that dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the resulting destruction. While there are certainly some evocative and powerful images related to the event (such as the flash of light, the mushroom cloud and shadows burnt onto walls, but also the skeletal structure of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial itself and the descriptions of melted eyes and watches frozen at 8.15), it is one of those events in human history that I feel is too massive, too horrific for straightforward representation. This piece, A Black Rain Over Hiroshima, is an attempt at capturing the flash of light, as well as the idea of the shadow of death raining down from the skies.
I used a fractured calligraphic style brushstroke, not only to link to Asian art traditions, but also to convey a sense of movement and the explosive and destructive energy of the moment of detonation, as well as immediately afterwards - the fact that the strokes resemble calligraphic marks, but are in reality illegible, links back to my feeling that there are some things too large and terrible to straightforwardly represent. The varying density of the strokes, with a greater concentration near the top of the piece, links to the idea of something falling, or raining down, from above, while the increasingly emptied out spaces in the centre of the composition are meant to evoke the both the flash of light and the eradication of certainties that followed in the wake of the bombs being used.
Very pleased and proud to be a part of this exhibition. If anyone happens to be in or around Venice and Treviso, I recommend checking it out!