FROM melting glaciers to nuclear bunkers, an intriguing exhibition in Bradford reveals the present-day landscape that once inspired the story of Frankenstein.

In the bicentennial year of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel, Impressions Gallery presents an expanded version of photographic artist Chloe Dewe Matthews’ acclaimed exhibition, In Search of Frankenstein, first shown at the British Library. Dewe was inspired by the novel’s genesis in 1816, when Mary was holidaying by Lake Geneva with her future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and companions including Lord Byron. The peculiar climactic conditions of 'the Year Without Summer' - the repercussions of a volcanic eruption in the Dutch East Indies - forced Shelley and her companions to remain indoors, competing to write the best ghost story. Despite the efforts of the more experienced male writers, it was the 18-year-old Mary who created the monster that became one of literature’s most enduring creations.

Travelling to Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps two centuries later, Dewe Mathews photographed the snow-covered mountains, not only from outside, but also from within. Her images reveal a network of eerie subterranean bunkers, built in the Cold War to shelter the entire population of Switzerland in the event of a nuclear disaster.

The miles of tunnels and chambers remain equipped and on standby; their curious apparatus evoking the electro-mechanical laboratory of Dr Frankenstein. These images stand in stark contrast to Dewe's pale, fragile landscapes of

mountains, lakes and glaciers.

The exhibition also includes her collection of vintage Alpine photographs and prints, a display of historical Frankenstein books from around the world and facsimiles of handwritten pages from Mary Shelley’s original manuscript, The Geneva Notebook.

“The questions Mary Shelley was asking in her book seem just as relevant today," says Dewe. "I hope my work will spark debate on the same issues: about human nature, manmade disaster and our continuing destructive impact on the natural environment."

Dewe's work has been exhibited at venues such as Tate Modern, and widely published in newspapers and magazines such as Harpers. She received international acclaim for Shot at Dawn, inspired by the stories of soldiers executed by firing squad by their own sides in the First World War. The series was published as a monograph by Ivorypress in 2014.

Dr Pippa Oldfield, Head of Programme at Impressions Gallery, says: “Dewe Mathews’ compelling images offer parallels between Shelley’s darkly prophetic novel and the anxieties of our time. In Search of Frankenstein brings a fresh resonance to this monumental piece of literature, 200 years after it was first published."

* In Search of Frankenstein opens on Friday at the Impressions Gallery, Centenary Square. A 'Brunch with the Artist' book signing takes place on Saturday from 12noon to 1pm.

Other events include a season of 'Frankenstein on Film' programmed with Bradford Picturehouse and family activities. Visit