Katrin I Spectrometer, balance of neutrino 2011


Beznau I Nuclear power plant, control room 2011

Nuclear power plants are among the most exclusive of spaces, kept under lock and key to guard against disastrous accidents or terrorist attacks. For his series Space and Energy, Zurich-based photographer Luca Zanier gains access into the impenetrable depths of nuclear and coal-fired power stations, cataloging their high ceilings and endless corridors. Through his lens, these plants, which fuel our daily lives, resemble the cold, sterile sets of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

In these power plants and nuclear waste storage facilities, Zanier discoverers an elegant artistry. Much like the duomo of a sacred cathedral, twisting, monolithic ceilings emanate color and light, ascending towards infinity. Though absent of human figures, the space seems to buzz and hum with energy. Marrying the objectivity of the photographic works of artists like Berndt and Hilla Becher with a profound sense of awe, Zanier presents these monolithic spaces as both essential and chilling. Though necessary for modern life, the plants, with their electric shapes and hues, seem vaguely portentous, bringing with them a new—and uncertain— dawn of technological advancement.

Zanier is represented by the Anzenberger Gallery. His book is available here.


Collombey I Oil refinery 2011


Trianel I Coal-fired power plant, interior view of the cooling tower 2011


Aarmatt I Interior view of a gas sphere 2011


Zwibez III Interim storage for nuclear waste, connecting stairs 2011


Ferrera III Discharge shaft of the dam’s intake tunnel 2011


Beznau III Nuclear power plant, dosimeter 2011


Zwilag I Security gate to the storage for low radiation and medium-radiation waste 2008


Goesgen I Nuclear power plant, safety lock 2012


Celestin I Spiral driveway 2011


Ferrera II Water Power Plant, Cavern of the underwater surge tank 2011