Little Boy’s Luminous Legacies (new, clear, atomic narratives)

April 04 – June 09, 2019

Benten Clay  / Michael Danner / David Fathi / Nina Fischer & Maroan El Sani / Cornelia Hesse-Honegger / Henrik Plenge Jakobsen / Soichiro Mihara / Pieter Laurens Mol / Volker Sattel & Stefan Stefanescu / Kota Takeuchi  / Peter Tillessen  / Robert Voit  / Jane & Louise Wilson /  Ken & Julia Yonetani / Anne Zeitz & David Boureau

Vernissage am 3. April / 19 Uhr

Everything is made up of atoms, of units that are difficult to imagine and consist of much smaller units. And diametrically thought into bigger dimensions,our planet melts to atomic size in the sight of galactic spaces.

We have taken endless time to observe how the splitting of the supposedly unsplittable became the stuff of great speculation.

One can define, that on December 2, 1942, humanity (or Enrico Fermi in Chicago) switched on the atomic age with nuclear technology. Since then, everything is different, and since then these teeny-tiny invisible friends are generating an impressive amount of memorable images and stories. Magnificent mushroom clouds, branded shadows, vanished cities, or Godzilla’s monstrous annoyance marked the early phase of nuclear experiences.

That these new forces are hard to control lies in the nature of human fallibility and self-overestimation. That the potential for danger ultimately does not end in the directly visible explosive power, but is only the beginning of a threatening eternity, remains as a legacy.

Nuclear power as energy source is as much sought after as discussed, as a fear generator it splits between good and evil – propaganda, deadly silence and the 

maximumcredibleaccusation remain the core of communication about the use of this technique. Legendary is Our Friend the Atom as an appeasement formula and No thanks as a critical slogan with a peaceful ending.

The internet-search for “little boy” already consumes more electricity than expected, and if one has the information, one wonders if the baptism of the Hiroshima bomb in this name was a deeply naive or malicious act? Innocence and good-faith curiosity characterizes the handling of the radiant matter since the beginning. No matter what catastrophic consequences and images military or civilian use of nuclear energy produced, the sensory imperceptible risk potential makes the repression of fears popular. As if we were out of our minds. A technology that (again) is welcomed in the face of global warming as a CO2-neutral hope, and whose consequences also elude our horizons in time. A buried task remains e.g. how to design safety symbols for nuclear waste, which can be understood thousands of generations later, while in the here and now is speculated about measurements, half-lives and repository.

The question of the atomic is always a question of phantoms. Like a non-visible parallel world next to the tangible. A technology that, in its quiet everyday life, increasingly draws on the mythological. The Sirens howl, Pandora closes the box and Homer works directly in the Springfield nuclear power plant …

The exhibition Little Boys luminous legacies wants to take this into account and present various narrative and explorations of the atomic. The Atomic Age was also accompanied artistically, and so we want to focus on loose narratives and intimations, on different attempts to make the invisible visible, and explore the deep relationship to atomic technology that has shaped global industrialized nations since the 1950s, sometimes catastrophic, sometimes quite commonplace, never final.

Curated by Dr. Daniel Bürkner and Jörg Koopmann