Nadav Kander, The Polygon Nuclear Test Site (After the Event), Kazakhstan (2011) Photo courtesy of Flowers Gallery. “While we often think of a ruin as something beautiful and romantic, something that conjures melancholy – these are ruins to a very dark past and not that way at all.” Yet he wasn’t there to record history: “I’m not a documentarian, this is a human condition – for all humans,” he says. Dust View in Monographs Stern FOTOGRAFIE Portfolio No. ... Nadav Kander, London, 2012. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'publicdelivery_org-leader-1','ezslot_13',121,'0','0'])); Igor was instrumental in the institution achieving its objectives. The building is now an Orthodox church. Nadav Kander: Radioactive ruins of … Speaking during its 75th anniversary in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin said this about the institute’s importance to his county’s history: The nuclear reactors designed within the walls of the institute and used in our industry, shipbuilding, medicine, space, and defense sectors, have become the symbols of our state’s power. It is these cities, shrouded in secrecy and not shown on maps until Google Earth unveiled them, that drew photographer Nadav Kander to document the scarred landscapes of Kazakhstan… The town was once booming, but following the termination of nuclear testing, which ultimately led to the STS’s decommissioning, its population has starkly reduced. Because of the continuous research on nuclear energy in the Kurchatov Institute, there are still some restrictions and secrets, and you need to make a special arrangement for you to visit the town. Unlike other artworks that speak in form of words, Kander’s photographs depict nothing intellectualizing. Nadav Kander – Near Baikonur Cosmodrome (rocket pylons), Kazakhstan, 2011, Nadav Kander – Graveyard near Kurchatov, Kazakhstan, 2011. Rooted in an interest in the 'aesthetics of destruction,' Dust explores the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia. Nadav Kander – The Aral Sea I (officer’s housing), Kazakhstan, 2011. Beni Bischof’s cars – A vision for driving in the future? In all documents where the laboratory was mentioned, it was only referred to as “an assembly workshop”. The institute was initially codenamed Laboratory No. In late 1990, the first-ever computer communication session took place within the Soviet Union. Kurchatov has plenty of abandoned buildings, most of which are half-collapsed. Nadav Kander began a three year survey of secret Soviet scientific cities and missile test sites when he learned of the existence of two “closed” cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia that tickled his curiosity for secrecy and his interest in the aesthetics of destruction.This fascination then took him from East Kazakhstan to the desolated landscapes of the Aral Sea. The town, named after Igor Kurchatov – a Soviet nuclear physicist, is known for being a former base for the neighboring Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS). Aleix Plademunt visits Dubailand, the world’s most expensive theme park, Shirin Neshat & her iconic Speechless photo, Steve McCurry’s magic India moments – Glamorous & worrying, Creating the first-ever Soviet nuclear bomb in 1949, Building the first cyclotron in Russia in 1944, the first-ever nuclear reactor in the whole of Europe in 1946, The first-ever thermonuclear bomb in the world in 1953, The first industrial nuclear power plant in the world in 1954, The first-ever Soviet nuclear reactor for submarines in 1958. Surprisingly, Kander takes hauntingly beautiful pictures of the aftermath of the Cold War which are a result of the relentless effort to develop nuclear armaments. “By being shot in a beautiful light, the pictures are showing a fundamental truth that there’s no one without the other; you can’t have life without death, health without disease, beauty without imperfection,” he says. Further down the street, you will find a residence of Lavrentiy Beria, who infamously chose this location for the government’s nuclear program. In the Dust series, as created by Nadav Kander’s, images of crows illuminated against the light of the moon in the darkness symbolizes how difficult it is to hide the truth. Kurchatov is still home to the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which oversees the former test site. Apart from the Test Site, the main highlight of the town is the Museum of the Semipalatinsk Test Site, which documents nuclear testing. We would love to keep the conversation going. “They had been closed for many years.” (All pictures: Nadav Kander, courtesy Flowers Gallery London and New York). Google Earth discovered these secret cities that the maps had never shown, ” says Kander also arrange your! – the Polygon Test Site, the only thing he ’ s artworks... 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