Michael Love Architectural Study #8, de la série | from the series Shadow Architecture, 2018.
Photos : permission de l’artiste | courtesy of the artist

The bitter traces evident in the remains of structures built during the Cold War (1947–91) in numerous Western countries form the primary materials for Michael Love’s photo­graphic projects. For many years, the Vancouver-based artist has visited and photographed sites marked by relics of the Cold War: in Albania, Germany, Canada, Crimea, Ukraine, and elsewhere. The now decayed but once imposing buildings and sites, designed to protect against attacks from the American empire or the Soviet bloc, take on a ghostly and surreal aspect, serving as a stark reminder of a relatively recent period in history. Sometimes Love’s photographs reveal only the ravages of time that have transformed these structures into ruins. Yet equally evident is the ingenuity at play in the population living alongside them, who have converted former bunkers into a tattoo studio and a palapa on an Albanian beach, and a top-secret fallout shelter near Ottawa into The Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum. What is striking in Love’s photos is the tact, clarity, and finesse with which light and colour are combined, lending them a poetic quality, not devoid of humour, despite the paranoia that presided over the construction of these unique structures and the themes of control and aggression that they clearly express.

You must have a valid Digital or Premium subscription to access this content.

Subscribe to Esse or log in now to read the full text!

Log in
This article also appears in the issue 96 - Conflict

Suggested Reading