Shot in the alpine landscape that inspired Mary Shelley's classic novel, Chloe Dewe Mathews’ photographic series In Search of Frankenstein juxtaposes snow-covered mountains with a network of eerie subterranean bunkers built in the 1960s to shelter the entire population of Switzerland in the event of a nuclear disaster.
The project was conceived during a residency at the Verbier 3-D Foundation in 2016, when the artist discovered that Shelley's manuscript was started during an unusual holiday on the shores of Lake Geneva. The ominously wet weather conditions of 1816 - the ‘Year without Summer’ - forced Shelley and her companions to stay indoors day after day, dreaming up ghost stories, from which Frankenstein's monster emerged.
Dewe Mathews photographed the region that had inspired the 18-year-old author, exploring miles of underground corridors and vast melting glaciers that seemed to offer parallels between Shelley's prophetic socio-environmental concerns and the anxieties of our time. In Search of Frankenstein presents a contemporary sublime, which affords this monumental piece of literature fresh resonance, 200 years after it was first published.
The artist book In Search of Frankenstein: Mary Shelley’s Nightmare was published by Kodoji Press in May 2018. The book combines Dewe Mathews’ photographs with reproductions of the Geneva Notebook: the first half of Mary Shelley’s original manuscript, which was purchased on the shores of Lake Geneva.