(All images by James Chadderton, reproduced with permission)
We’ve seen post-apocalyptic visions of the end of the world, from disaster art and nightmarish dystopia to global cities intact yet devoid of human life. Now, thanks to the imagination of artist James Chadderton, the apocalypse has reached England, laying waste to the great northern city of Manchester.
First exhibited at Incognito Gallery in the city’s Northern Quarter in 2011, the images portray the ruins of Manchester’s landmark buildings, including Urbis, the Printworks and the Palace Theatre.
Chadderton told the Manchester Evening News that maintaining a degree of realism was essential in order the draw the audience into that alternative reality: “The focus was to provide images of iconic areas of Manchester such as Urbis and the Palace Theatre in a derelict and eroded state as if involved in an apocalyptic event that somehow left the city lifeless and dissolving over potentially hundreds of years.”
Inspired by unsettling futuristic visions from films like 28 Days Later and Blade Runner, Chadderton created the images by fusing traditional paintings with photography and new media. Like The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, the artwork depicts “human devoid wastelands where the buildings have been left to decay”, rather than the destruction of post-nuclear fallout.
Among the ruins of Manchester’s landmark structures, one stands out as perhaps the most symbolic – the site of the former Hacienda nightclub, which was used by legendary local musician Peter Hook (formerly of New Order) as a record cover for his band The Light.
Of course, if the apocalypse ever does come to Manchester, the Temple (former Victorian public urinal) offers a solid underground haven.
All images reproduced with the permission of James Chadderton. Visit his website for more information.