March 29th, 2015

“The Radiants” at Bortolami

Anicka Yi

Artists: Richard Aldrich, Ei Arakawa, Enrico Baj / Arte Nucleare, Robert Barry, Kerstin Brätsch, Chim↑ Pom/ Don’t Follow the Wind, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda, Leidy Churchman, Tatsuo Ikeda, Erika Kobayashi, Jutta Koether, Sam Lewitt, Sigmar Polke, Nora Schultz, Amy Sillman, Michael Smith, Sergei Tcherepnin, UNITED BROTHERS, Anicka Yi, and more…

Venue: Bortolami, New York

Exhibition Title: The Radiants

Date: February – March 28, 2015

Click here to view slideshow

"The Radiants" at Bortolami


Erika Kobayashi

Full gallery of video, images, press release and link available after the jump.


Chim↑Pom, LEVEL7 feat. Myth of Tomorrow, 2011, digital video, color, sound, 7.06 min.


Amy Sillman, 11 Radiation Dreams, 2015, slide show, color, sound, 4.49 min.



Images and videos courtesy of Bortolami, New York. Photos by Thomas Müller.

Press Release:

Bortolami and Green Tea Gallery are pleased to announce The Radiants , an exhibition organized by UNITED BROTHERS and Jacob King. Coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and resulting crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, this exhibition features new and historical work by over twenty artists, and will be on view at 520 West 20th Street from February 28 to March 28, 2015.

In physics, radiation describes the transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles moving through space, traveling outward in all directions. An extremely broad category, it encompasses both ionizing  radiation (such as x-rays and gamma rays) which can cause atoms to gain or lose electrons, breaking chemical bonds and dangerously altering vital biochemical molecules like DNA, as well as weaker, non-ionizing  radiation (such as visible light, infrared light, and microwaves), which mainly generates heat.

Reflecting the multifarious nature of radiation — and both the ubiquity and anxiety which surround this largely invisible force — the works in this show take on multiple forms and dispositions. Included here are paintings by Enrico Baj  from the postwar Arte Nucleare movement; drawings by Tatsuo Ikeda  made in response to the Lucky Dragon incident of 1954; Robert Barry ’s “0.5 Microcurie Radiation Installation” from 1969; a group of “photographs” which Sigmar Polke  created by exposing photo-sensitive paper to Uranium ore; a Michael Smith  video from 1983 in which he follows instructions for building a government-approved home fallout shelter/snack bar; and a painting which the Japanese collective Chim↑Pom  “added” without permission (in May 2011) to Taro Okamoto’s “Myth of Tomorrow,” a mural in Tokyo’s Shibuya subway station that allegorizes the bombing of Hiroshima.

These works are presented together with new works made specifically for the show, which engage with radiation and its effects and abstractions: Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda  have made a painting using a technical Nano Prussian Blue pigment developed to absorb radioactive material; Sergei Tcherepnin  uses a recording of a Geiger counter at Fukushima as the basis for a new sound installation; Amy Sillman  presents a new work which references various dreams related to encounters with radiation (e.g. from medical devices); Ei Arakawa  contributes a group of floor lamps modeled on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors after the incident; and a young artist and writer from Tokyo, Erika Kobayashi , presents an installation related to her grandmother and Japanese research on radiation during World War II.

Also on view are a variety of works that do not specifically thematize radiation or Fukushima, but which, brought into this context, expand and complicate the dialogue around energy and abstraction (and the visible and invisible.) These include paintings and sculptures by Richard Aldrich, Kerstin Brätsch, Leidy Churchman, Jutta Koether, Sam Lewitt, Nora Schultz,  and Anicka Yi.

Link: “The Radiants” at Bortolami

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