Textile collage of oxidized copper fabric and carbon fibers, 120 x 67 cm

Commissioned by «False Clouds»

In the Bosnian town of Tuzla, a lake provides an unreal turquoise blue, the template for Nina Softić and Adnan Softić’s work, which plays with the ambivalence of its attraction. The deceptive beauty of the water reveals its destructive power at second glance. Its water serves as a binder for power plant ash contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides, which makes the lake appear blue. One finds copper, cadmium, chromium, zinc, lead, nickel, thallium and arsenic in it in large quantities. An above-average rate of leukemia and cancer in the surrounding villages is now common knowledge, yet the coal-fired power plant is not to be shut down, but expanded immensely. Chinese lenders initiated this major investment as part of a geopolitical megaproject called «Belt and Road Initiative» or also known as the «New Silk Road». As part of it, the fossils created over millions of years by mining dead plants and animals are being squandered within the shortest possible time.

The work «Termoelektrana, Tuzla», part of the series «Toxic Tales», cuts out and enlarges the motif of this «deadly energy of life» evolving from the ash landfill in Tuzla. The artist duo has oxidized a copper fabric and then processed it with carbon fibers. The copper stands for its conductive abilities as much as for the poisonous releases from the power plant. Oxidized, it gains the same color as the ash lakes. Weaved with carbon fibers, used in the coal-fired power plant, it resembles the dead trees in the lakes. These interruptions indicate the alkaline nature of the crystal clear turquoise-blue glowing lake, that, once it dries out, turns into black ash again. Blown away by the wind into the surroundings, it reveals the poisonous in the turquoise shimmering lake.