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United States of America born 1954

  • Canada 1982-2002

The witnesses 1995 Place made: United States of America
Creation Notes: printed 2004
Materials & Technique: photographs, cardboard; graphite; paper; photographic emulsion gelatin silver photograph and pencil Support: archival board
Edition: edition of 10 and two artist's proofs

Dimensions: sheet 1 38.0 h x 48.2 w cm sheet 2 60.8 h x 71.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2003
Accession No: NGA 2004.105

The Hanford Stretch is a photographic record of the beauty and horror experienced by Ruwedel on a journey canoeing down a section of the Columbia River. The Hanford Nuclear Reservation was the first large-scale plutonium manufacturing facility in the world. Nine nuclear reactors were active here from 1944 to 1971 resulting in irrevocable contamination of over 1,400 sites. Ruwedel uses the nineteenth-century tools of exploratory photography—a grand formality achieved by the use of a large-format camera, precise framing and the incorporation of hand-written titles—to unsettling effect: the Arcadian tranquillity of the scene is disrupted by fish corpses washed up on the shore and destroyed by our knowledge of what has occurred here in the past.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra