If the radiance of a thousand suns
were to burst at once into the skies
After visiting Fukushima Prefecture after the Great East Earthquake in Tohoku, northeastern Japan, Kawakubo buried silver halide films in the evacuation zone. The artist then retrieved the films after a number of months and printed them using an enlarged format. Instead of blocking the light through the action of burying the films, in opposition to photographs’ original method of being shown its image by light, Kawakubo transformed radiation that is invisible to the naked eye into the visible form. The title of this work is a quotation from the words of the American physicist Robert Oppenheimer who led the Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. Oppenheimer, also known as “the father of the atomic bomb” compared himself to the god of destruction in the Hindu holy text Bhagavad Gita.
“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the skies, that would be like the splendour of the Mighty One...”