BUNKER by David Faithfull

Part of the Art Lending Library at the GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL 2012

Mitchell Library and Market Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland

 Bunker (n)

1. a reinforced underground shelter, typically used in wartime.

2. a large container or compartment for storing fuel

 Today in Britain, Nuclear Power is back on the political agenda as a green fuel, and Plutonium, one of the main byproducts of the industry, still powers our vast nuclear arsenal.

 Bunker sets out to questions our views on both military and nuclear power and the relative safety of both these industries on a local level as well as the catastrophic effects they can inflict on a global scale.

 Whilst Chernobyl, Fukushima and Hiroshima are more familiar nuclear catastrophes, closer to home, Sellafield and Dounreay have had their own major incidents. The Jettison series of Artists Books, created by David Faithfull, were initially inspired by one of theses incidents - the crash of an RAF Tornado F3 Jet near Torness Nuclear Power Station in 1999.

 As flight crash investigator the artist documented the event, combing the adjacent beaches near the impact site for detritus of flotsam and jetsam. The resulting Jettison findings are presented here within the wallpapered Bunker setting. The accompanying wallpaper’s stark forms of the fleur-de-lis and Tornado jet include the crane bird – an ancient symbol of resurrection. These are complemented with flimsy paper suits reminiscent of the minimal safety protection offered the state Chernobyl workers, who cleaned up the contaminated site. The suits are printed with details of major nuclear civilian disasters from around the globe. The gutted Chernobyl plant’s own nuclear core is now covered in a crumbling concrete sarcophagus or bunker and resonates with the ultimate dilemma. Is the Bunker indeed a crypt or an ark, heralding the end or a new beginning?

 Bunker was first shown at Durham Art Gallery and Light Infantry Museum in England in 2009 as part of Inkubator - a critically acclaimed exhibition, conceived and curated by Faithfull, highlighting Artists Books created by a variety of contemporary international artists. The exhibition aimed to broaden exposure and accessibility to the genre of Artists Books, offering viewers the opportunity to handle these pieces directly.

 The accompanying Artists Book Bunker, was created for the Inkubator exhibition, records an apocalyptic narrative near the World War 2 coastal defences and pill box bunkers at Cheswick Beach in Northumberland.

 Since being exhibited in Inkubator, the Bunker installation has been shown in various forms in Edinburgh, London, Slovakia, Melbourne and Quebec.