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5 years ago

CHERNOBYL TODAY - A photo exhibition by Christophe Malcot

Chernobyl Today
Chernobyl Today
38 black-and-white photographs, 12 of which in the unusual 100x40cm format.

Currently on show at Artspace, #02-03, 222 queen street, Singapore 188551. Until 31 May 2016.

Artist talk on 26th May, 2016 at 6:30pm at Artspace.

Taken in 2015, Christophe’s photographs paint a story with a sweet-and-sour after-taste that cannot leave anybody unmoved; a cautionary tale of sorcerer’s apprentice gone awfully wrong; a story of degeneration and regeneration; a story of hope as nature, unhindered by man, slowly reclaims its rights and takes over hubristic and now derelict man-made structures.

Pripyat, still tightly sealed today within a 30-km Exclusion Zone, was a model Soviet city of 50,000 inhabitants, purpose-built near the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1970. On April 26th, 1986, at 01:23am, two successive explosions rock the night. Suddenly. Brutally.

The world’s (then) worst nuclear accident has just started: The 1,000-ton lid above the fuel elements within Reactor Four is destroyed. A highly-visible plume of radioactive smoke rises into the sky. Moving with the winds, it will blanket huge parts of the USSR and Europe over the following two weeks, until the extinction of the fire inside molten Reactor Four. Finally.

36 hours after the first explosion, all 50,000 inhabitants of Pripyat are evacuated due to life-threatening levels of radioactivity.

They are told it is only for three days. They will never return.

Today Pripyat is a deserted ghost city, where life has started anew by adapting to its new, radioactive environment and where, 30 years on, wildlife is thriving in what has in effect become a flourishing (if accidental) nature reserve. For the biggest danger to nature may not be radioactivity but man.

Chernobyl may now be a distant memory but with the scars of Fukushima still very raw, Christophe’s poignant photographs are a very visual reminder of the damage done.

Sponsored by The Private Museum, Singapore.

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