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Anti-nuclear past the subject of radioactive art exhibition

Sep 2nd, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News

rightsidetopNEW ZEALAND doesn’t allow Americans to bring nuclear material into New Zealand, but artist Steve Gurysh has changed all that.

But don’t be alarmed – Art enthusiasts attending a gallery opening at Massey University last Thursday were under no threat of radiation.

The work, The Long Cloud by American artist Steve Gurysh, is a print depicting the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior – and is made out of uranium.

“The most dangerous part was the manufacture of the print” said Mr Gurysh.

The print is accompanied by a Geiger counter housed in a concrete and glass case.

“The casing exists somewhere between a display and a sarcophagus,” said Mr Gurysh.

The exhibition is being held at The Engine Room gallery at Massey University, and the opening attracted around a hundred students, faculty and members of the public.

On a field trip to Uranium Point near Westport last year, Gurysh collected a sample of rocks for transport back to the United States.

He then used a chemical process to break down the rocks and extract the uranium, which he used to create a print known as an uranotype.

The original image of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was taken by New Zealand photographer Gil Hanley.

The work tries to avoid a clear ideological stance on nuclear but it does hope to “create an opportunity for a conversation” on the topic, Mr Gurysh said.

Mr Gurysh said that it was interesting to see the difference in reaction between New Zealand and American audiences.

The artist is hoping to settle in Auckland to continue his career, but has not yet lined up a permanent home for the work.

His work was inspired by an interest in New Zealand’s nuclear history, particularly the distances between Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus and the events surrounding the Rainbow Warrior.

The Long Cloud will be viewable at The Engine Room at Massey University until September 13th.


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is a Whitireia journalism student covering the Mount Cook area in Wellington. He has a BA in Political Science and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
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