Diana Thater – Chernobyl

WHEN : 22 Oct – 4th Feb

Los Angeles artist Diana Thater is famous for her audacious video installations that deconstruct the language and mechanics of video as a medium while exploring the relationship between human beings and the natural world (particularly animals). The highlight of our show is her new six-channel video installation Chernobyl (2010).

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the northern Ukraine exploded. It allegedly released 100 times more nuclear debris than the Hiroshima bomb and was responsible for the deaths and illnesses of thousands of people. Today, the city of Pripyat, where the powerplant workers lived, is a ghost town. Although completely deserted by humans, wild animals are settling there. Przewalski’s Horses, facing extinction in their native habitat in central Asia, now roam freely in this post-apocalyptic, post-human landscape. Thater filmed in Pripyat, within the forbidden ‘alienation zone’, observing animals against the decomposing architecture.

Thater writes: ‘Chernobyl is falling into ruins, but still looks like a city; there are stores, apartment buildings, schools. Even though it’s deserted and falling apart, animals are moving into the city. On the one hand, you have a perfectly preserved Soviet city from 1970; on the other hand, this post-apocalyptic landscape where animals are living. Chernobyl represents the failure of a massive political system, a way of life, and of science. Yet nature continues to persist. Not because it wants or chooses to, but because it must.’