25 May – 3 November 2013

Red Balloon 86 displayed work by Czech artist Hana Vojáĉková. Comprised of 5 large-format photographs and a video, it told the story of a ghostly boy wandering around an abandoned city in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and offered a personal response to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The city remains as it was when it was evacuated 27 years ago and the images reveal a quiet, abandoned place. Superimposed onto the photographs is a figure of a child holding a red balloon, representing the memory of the life that once occupied these spaces.

Vojáĉková’s photographs not only document the area, but also invite the viewer to remember their own past and to identify with those affected by the disaster. Strong colours and carefully staged imagery make the photographs reminiscent of illustrations from children’s books, while maintaining a documentary feel, exploring the link between childhood fantasy and the reality of adults.

Download Red Balloon 86 press release (.pdf, 88KB)

Supported by

Czech Centre, Pitman Tozer, Les Mes logos

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London