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ROBERT POLIDORI: CHERNOBYL
26 October -23 December 2006
Edwynn Houk Gallery was pleased to present an exhibition of more than twenty large-scale photographs by Robert Polidori. Drawn from Polidori’s 2003 monograph, Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl, this exhibition highlighted Polidori’s signature display of color in contrast to the desolation and despair left in the wake of one of the largest man-made catastrophes: the nuclear meltdown of 1986 at Chernobyl. An opening reception was held for the artist from 6-8 pm on Thursday, October 26, 2006. Concurrently, an exhibition of Robert Polidori’s New Orleans work entitled After the Flood was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 19 September through 10 December 2006.
Photographing in May 2001, Polidori’s images sing a haunting tale of nuclear aftermath. Set within the forbidding confines of the Chernobyl nuclear facility and the neighboring Pripyat community, Polidori depicts the drab sterility of Soviet architecture drenched in a toxic luminescence. From the epicenter of the catastrophe at Reactor 4, to abandoned school buildings and hospitals in surrounding Pripyat, Polidori captures the ghosts of human habitation in sublime decay. Representing a Ukrainian countryside forever marked by the scars of human progress, Polidori’s photographs suggest the melancholia and loss inflicted by two decade’s worth of sickness and disease. In a stunning rendering of the artifacts of human tragedy, Robert Polidori’s Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl launches past trauma into a modern dialectic.
Born in 1951 in Montreal, Robert Polidori is considered one of the world’s leading architectural photographers. Transcending the limits of pure architectural photography, Polidori’s images record a visual citation of both past and present, an extraordinary invocation of history and modernity within the confines of a single frame. Through the photograph’s ability to mummify the present moment, Polidori’s work eschews nostalgia in favor of the poignancy of absolute reality. Polidori is the author of eight books including Versailles (Place des Victoires 1999), Havana (Steidl 2001), Metropolis (Metropolis 2004), and most recently After the Flood (Steidl 2006). A new exhibition of his work entitled After the Flood featuring photographs taken in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 19 September through 10 December 2006.