Neil Berrett's "Souvenirs from Chernobyl" opened today, with some viewers surprised by the unexpected images of greenery at the site of the infamous disaster. Visitors were prompted to meditate on the nature of decay, change, and rebirth as they discussed the show with one another.
About the show:
Instant photographs inside the exclusion zoneAbout the artist:
The thirty-kilometer exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power station is a changing landscape. The short-lived radioisotopes have decayed away, while longer living radioisotopes remain in the soil, visibly changing some of the plantlife. Some 300 elderly samosets (self-settlers) live a semi-legal life in the area. They are quietly returning to their previous lives as farmers. Based on measurements taken with our guide’s radiation measuring instrument, I estimate I received approximately the equivalent of two airplane flights from San Francisco to London during my stay in the exclusion zone.
These instant photographs will decay at a rate that will have them obliterated in about 20 years. The exclusion zone too is changing, very slowly, for the better: plants are covering the drab buildings, the radiation level is decaying. I smuggled a small green apple out of the zone to measure its levels myself. The site will be slightly closer to a wild garden when I return to Chernobyl in the summer of 2012, while these images will be slightly closer to their demise.
– Neil Berrett
Neil Berrett's work may be seen at neilberrett.com
Stop by this Friday, September 23rd at 7 pm to meet the artist in person.