Explosive reactions: that was what Louis Réard expected his new invention, the bikini, to provoke. On a more serious note, very real explosions were taking place on the Atoll of the same name during the nuclear tests conducted by the Americans in 1946. Leander Schwazer’s new project mingles art, history and pop culture to offer a personal, assuredly contemporary exploration of war painting.
A monumental image in black and white blocks the way into the exhibition, showing a reproduction of the light aircraft carrier Independence, used by the Americans for their nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in 1946 and scuttled off the coast of San Francisco in 1951. This massive canvas, a symbolic representation of a historic event, belongs to the war painting genre. Behind the photograph five kitchen trolleys hold an assortment of objects that, within this tradition, highlight past, present and future “battles” of images.
Image: Arthur Beaumot, Cross Spikes Club, 1946. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC