Franek Wardyński
    / Art

    / Leftover


Leftover (2022) shows a billboard-sized print of the South base shooting range: a document from an airbase (and training facility) on the edge of the salt flats and the Bonneville Basin, where Franek Wardyński did a residency with the CLUI (The Center for Land Use Interpretation). It is a vast view, an immersive horizon, capturing fieldwork in the Utahan desert.

In his recording, we are inherently grasping the grandeur history of the place, as the image of the shooting range reoccurs in four smaller prints, two video works and a publication — showing perspectives of artist involvement at the deserted range. At the gallery, the moving image piece, Rounds per minute, is tucked between two sculptural portraits, screened on a Sony Trinitron, whilst the second film is projected in the library: a 10 min clip telling the story of the making of the objects on the prints in the larger room.

The reference (title and document) is the historical magnitude of the place itself, the Utahan airfield where the pilot and the Enola Gay plane trained before they flew to Asia and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. The parenthetical reference is to wasteland: places governments choose to forget. Wendover was deactivated in 1949, and most of it has been in decay since. For eighty years, the props in the footage were unused, laying in the bare sun, left, haunted, full of darkened memories.A question surfaces, in the photography and moving, works: where do documents end and art begin? Image and word come together in the small publication with the same name as the exhibition title: Leftover, along with illustrations of booby traps you can read ‘a place no longer’ and ‘an army in the air, dusted across the desert.’

One mode of the documentation is the sculptural portraits: a record of four objects made from props at the shooting range, in situ. In one of the images, props are revealed: a rusty torso, weights and wooden blocks. Also: army storage bunkers lie in the background, like tombs—because the place still holds secrets, well-kept from the blazing sun.