Last week, a new gallery, Happy Lucky No. 1 opened on Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights – on a stretch becoming increasingly peppered with new coffee shops, bars and businesses. The new space, designed by the firm aa64 is both a gallery and event space, with a green wall and green roof. The first exhibit, Topography is Fate, with images by New York City-based photographer Matthew Arnold, is even more timely now given the recent current events. Arnold’s beautiful large-format photographs belie a darker history – 70 years ago this North African landscape was the scene of carnage during World War II.
The Libyan battlefields still hold signs of trauma, which are visible upon closer look at the desaturated images – a crater in the sand, remnants of a mesh fence, a concrete trench out of context, a collapsed German bridge that looks like a natural cave.
As a description provided offers more clues:
“Matthew recently returned from Libya, continuing a photography project that considers the varied landscapes of North Africa that the Allied soldier of World War II was forced to endure. Thousands of miles from home, largely untraveled and ignorant of lands and peoples outside their home countries, the Allied soldier was dropped onto the shores of what must have seemed a dangerous and alien environment – his understanding of the land limited to stereotype, myth and the relevant army field manual.”
Happy Lucky No.1 is located at 734 Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights and is open Thursday, Friday Saturday, Sunday, and by appointment. Topography is Fate will be on display until December 18, 2015.