In the Media Room, the gallery presents a video work titled “i am the enola gay” by Lisa K. Blatt. On August 6th, 1945, Col. Paul Tibbets, Jr. flew the Enola Gay, the American B-29 bomber, off the runway to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, ending the second World War. While this marked victory for the Allies, the atomic bombs devastated Japan, the five-year death total as a result is thought to exceed 200,000 people in Hiroshima alone.
Initially, it seems that Lisa K. Blatt’s video could be any plane on any runway. It is the video’s title and location that load “i am the enola gay” with its significance. On the same runway from which the Enola Gay took off nearly seventy years ago, Blatt recreates this journey in this video, presenting the viewer with the takeoff from the actual runway, including stopping at the bomb loading site.
Raised in suburban St. Louis, Blatt feels more at home in extreme landscapes, using the environment to shape her stories. Her worksites are entrenched in meaning and significance, whether she is living in a tent on a live volcano in Antarctica, the Atacama Desert in Chile, or the runway from which Enola Gay took off. These kind of locations have provided that background for photography and video installations that have been included in international and domestic exhibitions, including Polar Extremes, a solo show at the Reykjavik Museum of Photography Reykjavik, Iceland (2009); Sound Design for Future Films, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2008); Proyecto Circo at the 8th Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba, the Shanghai Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (2007); and the solo show “Night Light” at Mills College Art Museum (2006). Blatt has been awarded residencies for the Montana Artist Refuge, Center for Land Use (Wendover) and Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado. Most recently, Cindy Sherman selected Lisa K. Blatt as her one pick for an artist doing groundbreaking work in Shooting Stars – New Stars of Photography for the Smithsonian Magazine. Sherman writes, “My original response to Lisa’s work was visceral…I found something mysterious in them, as if they were so carefully composed as to be hiding some relevant content that one has to discern.” Ms. Blatt received her M.F.A. (New Genres) from the San Francisco Art Institute. She lives and works in San Francisco, California.