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2000 EUR

Hornet, 2017

From the series Noon in the Desert

Price

2000,00 €

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Artwork offered by

Metronom, Modena

Signed Framed

Size

51 x 41 cm
20.08 x 16 in

Reference

960bf630

Year

2017

Medium

Prints , Photography


  • About the work

Noon in the Desert is taken from the opening line of William E Stafford’s poem, ‘At the Bomb Testing Site’, and is a series of photographs which explores the replica neighbourhoods, constructed at the nuclear weapons test sites in Nevada during the 1950s in order to measure the effects of nuclear detonation. As a project, it emerged in response to a tourist postcard I came across of the Las Vegas casino, The Pioneer Club, in which a mushroom cloud can be seen looming over the Nevada desert in the distance. The two localities, known as ‘Doom Town’ and ‘Survival Town’, were designed to reflect a generic image of American post-war suburbia and were populated by a series of costumed mannequins, strategically placed in mock- up homes.

Vehicles, buildings and shelters were placed at various distances from ‘ground zero’, and cameras strategically located to capture the effects of the explosions. Filled with household goods and factory produced furniture, some of which was still in its packaging, displaying shop floor tags, the rooms embodied the American dream. Clothed mannequins were posed at the dinner table or gathered around the television.

Located sixty five miles north-west of Las Vegas, the Nevada test site was part of the United States’ nuclear weapons testing programme. A series of tests was carried out in 1955. Operation Teapot was the most extensive; the various tests within Teapot were named Wasp, Moth, Tesla, Turk, Hornet, Bee, ESS, Apple-1, Wasp Prime, HA, Post, MET, Apple-2 and Zucchini.

The atomic tests became tourist attractions, as day trippers, flocking to the Nevada desert with their specially purchased viewing glasses, picnicked under the shadow of the cloud, while Las Vegas hotels and casinos tapped into the burgeoning market, offering event tickets and memorabilia.

Following in the tradition of Frances Glessner Lee’s The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, I became interested in how the forensic use of the miniature subverts the innocence of the doll’s house aesthetic, in order to recreate complex histories. Taking found archival photographs of the two test site towns as my source, Noon in the Desert became a re-creation of their interior and exterior spaces, reworked in miniature form.

What was central to the atomic bomb tests of the 1950s was how they became emblematic of a nuclear optimism within the public consciousness. As special viewing stations were erected for the general public to witness their execution in the Nevada desert, ‘atomic’ toys and accessories flooded the market. It is within this capacity of a domesticated fetish for all things ‘atomic’, that the doll’s houses and exteriors I have created form part of this perverse and ironic history.


About the Artists

1971 London, United Kingdom

Annabel Elgar is a photographic based artist who lives and works in London. She has an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art and her work has featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications throughout Europe and North America. 
Elgar's photographs are poised between the fairytale and the everyday. Sources, often mythic, are gleaned from new stories, the internet, folklore, literature and art history. Conceived as 'staged' photography, her work blurs the line between the constructed and the documentary. Annabel Elgar presents real or presumed facts, referring in a poetic and refined way to historical episodes that still raise doubts about secret plots or obscure drawings never revealed. Photography itself is staged, narration is not a work at the service of documentation, but the affirmation of how the search for truth can be ephemeral. What Annabel offers us are often only clues, the details of a representation that should be looked at and observed as an enigma, in which the artist at the same time plays the role of the protagonist and the (occult?) director.

 


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About the Gallery

Address

Modena, Via Carteria, 10

Metronom is an art gallery and publishing house based in Modena, Italy. Founded by Marcella Manni, Metronom is committed to researching and promoting projects related to contemporary visual culture through solo and collective exhibitions of Italian and international artists. The attention to the creative practices of the younger artistic generations find...

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