When the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945, for the first time in history, it was touted as a means to end the Second World War. Other countries developed their own nuclear bombs in subsequent decades to deter attacks from enemy nations, and the mushroom cloud that appeared after every successful nuclear test morphed into a symbol of world peace. The fragility of ‘world peace’ signified by the mushroom cloud stands well exposed today, once again, with the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the repeated threats of a nuclear attack.

Here, a tree is not a tree. It is an actor of demolition. And if a tree is not a tree, and a pipe is not a pipe, and war is not war, and death is not death, a mushroom cloud emerging from an ill-fated, ill-imagined, terrifying fission of radioactive elements is certainly not a tree. A necessary evil at worst, an idealized virtue at best. This is strategic ambiguity, this act of pretence, of falsifying harmlessness, of building illusions of benefit and no first use, when everything else, is proof against that.

Anupam Roy is a practicing visual artist, and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Art, Media and Performance, Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence, Delhi-NCR. Anupam’s artistic practice emerges from a long-term engagement with the Indian hinterland and its peoples, and dissents against the dominating dystopian regimes. Roy is an active member of Communist party of India Marxist Leninist (Liberation) and part of a collective called Locust Review.

Organized by Estudio Pedro Reyes
in collaboration with ICAN

ARTISTS AGAINST THE BOMB is an exhibition of posters that call for universal nuclear disarmament. Each made by a different artist, the group comprises historical and newly
commissioned works that detail a cultural history of disarmament movements and evidence the diversity of ways in which artists have expressed the need to ban the bomb. ARTISTS AGAINST THE BOMB is designed for maximum agility and economic effectiveness, relying on a black and white palette both for its impact and ease o reproduction. We asked artists to ensure their works can exist on a variety of supports, ephemera such as posters, postcards, billboards, banners, flags, t-shirts and social media posts, as we aspire to achieve the widest possible circulation of this message.

ARTISTS AGAINST THE BOMB presents the works of foundational conceptual artists Art & Language; pop hero, Keith Haring; legendary feminists, Guerrilla Girls; performance artists Regina José Galindo and Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, as well
as eminent sculptors Magdalena Abakanowicz and Isamu Noguchi. It also features indelible photographs by Robert Del Tredici and Ken Domon alongside protest graphics from social movements such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), founded in 1958 and still active; the epic Peace Squadron and Visual Artists Against Nuclear Arms (VAANA); and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Additionally, it examines how stories are told, from the theater of Bread and Puppet to films like Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Marguerite Duras / Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour, to an unexpected survey of literature, from an early
anticipation of an atomic bomb, first envisioned by H.G. Wells in 1918, to the viscera spoken word poetry of Jayne Cortez.

ARTISTS AGAINST THE BOMB, organized by Estudio Pedro Reyes in collaboration with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is presented on the occasion of the Second Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) held at the United Nations in 2023.

To organize en exhibition of ARTISTS AGAINST THE BOMB please contact curatorial assistant Verana Codina.

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