The Case of Hiroshima

Trees out of Head, 2015/17, patinated bronze, ca. 30 x 37 x 24 cm © Leiko Ikemura and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019. / Photo: Jörg von Bruchhausen.

The Exhibition deals with the consequences of a total annihilation of humanity by humanity itself using the technology it produces, and raises for renewed discussion issues of identity, ethics, sovereignty and the use of military force in a total war that will exterminate mankind. 


Anselm Kiefer, Germany
Oliver Pietsch, Germany
Joram Rozov, Israel
Larry Abramson, Israel
Yoshida Shigenobu, Japan
Shirin Abedinirad, Iran
Via Lewandowsky, Germany
Isao Hashimoto, Japan
Erez Israeli, Israel
Guli Silberstein, Israel/ England
Gilad Ophir, Israel
Leiko Ikemura, Japan/ Germany
Micha Ullman, Israel

The exhibition is inspired by the book Burning Conscience: The Case of the Hiroshima Pilot Claude Eatherly, a collection of correspondence between Claude Eatherly, a former air force pilot, and Günther Anders, a German philosopher.

Eatherly was the pilot who gave the all-clear for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima following a reconnaissance mission an hour earlier; an action the implications of which he did not understand at the time. Returning from the mission and learning of the devastating impact of the atomic bomb, Eatherly was unable to accept his role and continue with his daily routine. Though he was treated as a hero by the press, Eatherly suffered from a continuous mental crisis from which he never fully recovered and attempted suicide several times.

The Case of Hiroshima is a fascinating and troubling book because the matters being discussed by Anders and Eatherly are as important today as they were during the lives of the correspondents, and their insights should serve us as warning signs to avoid repeating a nuclear holocaust catastrophe, whose intensity this time will in all likelihood be apocalyptic. The term does not refer to the borrowed meaning from the theological and philosophical semantic fields, but to its most literal meaning as the total annihilation of humanity and the world.

The exhibition The Case of Hiroshima will raise questions of identity, of morality and conscience and of uncontrolled and exaggerated exploitation of power. The exhibition deals with our personal and collective responsibility regarding crucial decisions relating to human lives, whether of individuals or of groups. With the everyday threat of wars and the fear of the worst to come which has been troubling civilization since the drop of the first atomic bomb in 1945, the world is in a state of constant dread of a momentary lapse of mind that would lead to a possible horrible mistake from which there will be no coming back.

Can we separate conscience from intelligence? The philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau believed the answer to that was no. We find ourselves juggling daily between our intelligence, which urges us to achieve, succeed and win all battles at any price, and our conscience, which calls upon us to differentiate between good and evil on our way to the desired success. The question we cannot afford to ignore is can we make good use of our intelligence to justify our behavior, while at the same time assuring that we carry on humbly, expressing restraint and tolerance towards the other's right for existence?

This exhibition, like others before, at the Museum on the Seam, calls upon us to act with restraint and collective responsibility for the sake of a safer future world, and in the hope of influencing our environment to reciprocate such behavior towards us.

Source: Museum on the Seam - socio-political contemporary art museum


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