Writing in 1961, a year prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and two years prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez suggested that life was the best thing ever invented. If so, historic events over the course of my life have taught me that humankind’s presumed stewardship of planet Earth clearly leaves something to be desired–thus, begging the question: Why, in our modern era, in which we take for granted that our species is the apotheosis of the greatest of inventions, do we seem so persistently inclined to push ourselves to the very brink of extinction in ever more creative and lethal ways?
The imaginary, constructed vernacular images in the series, Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast, have evolved in the shadows of this paradox. Rooted in the soil of my coming of age, its images are sourced and digitally constituted from bits and pieces of discarded analog photographs acquired over the years from the dust bins of the twentieth century.
They represent narrative threads populated by monochrome men fallen from grace, ambivalent women standing on the cusp of reinvention and feral, free range children born to run, all living with the threat of an end to the world as they know it circling high overhead.
They encompass cultural themes rooted in my youth that have continued to mutate and metastasize in society for the better part of my life, informing fabrications in this portfolio that are of the past and yet are also of the world as we know it today, spilling over with question marks and exclamation points, as unpredictable and absurd as ever, each one telling stories about the times in which I have lived, none of which are real, but, to the best of my knowledge, all of which are true.
FOR INFORMATION about book and/or print sales, the Man Lives Through Plutonium Blast traveling exhibition, or about the archive itself:
Please contact Peter Leighton.