Franek Wardyński
  
    / Art

    / Utah/Nevada


Halfway through the artists Franek Wardyński and Lia Forslund’s series Utah/Nevada, there is an image of an airfield on the border of two states. The ground of the army airfield is Utahn: the western edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert, framed by the dark blue Nevadan Goshute mountains. Its perspective is twofold, we are looking at two states, but also two bases: a military memory set at the end of the 1940s and a contemporary one testing drones along the state rim. The South base of the field is depicted, in the form of a portrait of the wooden housing where the atomic bombs were kept before the load training was conducted, prior to the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. But here is also an image of the bunkers raised from the ground: current storage for weapons, casino money and drones, sensitive to the dry desert heat. A temporary toilet is placed on the salt flats, as monuments of daily use of the flatland.
The photographs of Utah/Nevada was taken during a residency at Land Art of The America West, a six-month field study investigating human interaction with the landscape. As a collaboration with the Wendover based Center for Land Use Interpretation, the artists were granted access to the military base and airfield as guests of a non-profit research and education organization. Frequently, the artist interacted with the military and airfield personnel on the base who did not hesitate to share memories of the glory days of Wendover, but also echo stories of neglect and decay—a split landscape, two time zones with an ancient lakebed in between.

This photographic project was exhibited at the Southeast Center for Photography's exhibition Contemporary Landscapes, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.