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Explosions of light
Chernobyl Herbarium

Anaïs Tondeur
16 jun – 14 oct. 2022


Comandra umbellata santalaceae

Explosions of Light – Chernobyl Herbarium is the first solo exhibition in Italy by French visual artist Anaïs Tondeur.

The exhibition’s protagonist is a rayographic herbarium, collecting images of plant species which grow in the radioactive soils of Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area contaminated by the explosion of the nuclear power plant reactor No. 4 on April 26th 1986.

Through rayograms – generated by the direct imprint of plants on photosensitive plates exposed to an intense source of light and to the radioactivity contained in the flora – the artist seeks to reveal the nuclear stigmata on the botanical bodies.

In her quest to create a space where plants can have a voice and establish their own presence, Anaïs Tondeur providentially encountered the trajectory of environmental philosopher Michael Marder, himself contaminated by the 1986 explosion.

Since then Tondeur and Marder have shared a common urge to symbolize this event, they reflect upon it and find a possible meaning to the fragmentation of consciousness triggered by the disaster. This collaboration takes the form of a composite work, which combines philosophical thoughts and works of art, and that intends to encourage another, possible way of living, more attuned to the environment.

Press release