Hiroshima Anniversary, remembering an artistic action

White human profiles in different positions designed on a grey surface
Shadow Project, an artistic performance in Hiroshima, August 6th, 1988

Since the mid-1970s I have been curating several events for peace and nuclear disarmament. I woyld like to mention two events. One is United for Peace dedicated to the social situation in Poland and to the open war between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands. The second one is  “Shadow Project” which had place in various nations: in Italy, with the participation of GAC (Guglielmo Achille Cavellini) and Enrico Baj, and other artists; in Ireland; in Germany with the collaboration of Peter Küstermann); in the United States; in Uruguay (with the collaboration of Clemente Padín); in Japan, in 1988, with the contribution of Shozo Shimamoto and Ryosuke Cohen.

man with a white jumpsuit spotted with red. He keeps head down and is surrounded by men wearing the same jumpsuit, surrounded in turn by smoke. Other people look at the scene
Shadow Project, an artistic performance in Hiroshima, August 6th, 1988. From left, Daniel Daligand, Gérard Barbot, Shozo Shimamoto, Ryosuke Cohen, John Held jr., Ruggero Maggi

In addition, a great meeting of International mail artists has been held which culminated in Hiroshima on August 6th and then transferred to other Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Lida.

When the first atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, on August 6th 1945, people vaporized instantly, leaving only their shadows on the ground. The remains of these victims have built the images and the theme of Shadow project. The aim was to evoke a tragic moment in human history: at 8.15 in the morning, the first atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima which  produced at least three effects: the immediate vaporization of the bodies of the victims, the serious deformities and diseases followed over the time, the threat of a repetition of the tragedy.

The formal solution to remember the event was simple and effective: from the profile of several human beings different paper forms were realized by the mail-artists and soon later sent to me. Those forms were placed on the ground and painted and subsequently leaving just their own shadow, eventually. An effective “elimination of humanity”, of great allusive force. But, due to the way how the project was realized and the historical data used, Shadow project expanded worldwide becoming a general symbol of inhumanity.

The hyperbolic tragedy of Hiroshima can be divided into a thousand dramas no less serious because they are common. Each negative event ultimately is a subtraction of humanity, an act of small or large death that leaves the void behind and, therefore, causes a shadow effect.