bangkok: radium girls

© claude estèbe

french photographer claude estèbe has an exhibition of new work at toot yung art center, opening there on sat - sep 7 [7pm]. estèbe started this new series in the wake of the fukushima nuclear disaster which occurred in northeastern japan in 2011. at this time estèbe, a specialist in the field of japanese visual culture, had already delved deep into the topic of godzilla and related japanese monster movies. this photo series eventually links his previous works involving cheap mass produced toys and his elaborate research on japanese subculture, and the plastic dolls, monsters and robots collected as photographic models are shot in fragments to deconstruct the harsh social realities involved in the deeper meaning of his images. the photographer uses subculture artefacts and visual codes to counterbalance corporate propaganda with a warped sense of humor, and was ironically inspired for some shots by the 1930’s ads for radium based 'miracle' cosmetic brands like tho-radia and their glow-in-the-dark lighting. interestingly, the exhibition's title is a reference to the 1920’s lawsuit filed by five dying young women against the u.s. radium corporation for letting them work with fluorescent radium paint without any protection. location: 12/6 ekkamai soi 2 [sukhumvit].

© claude estèbe