Seaside: Photographed at Turner Contemporary

With a week to go the posters for this exhibition, curated by myself and Val Williams have arrived and beginning to appear in various locations. Image one is from Vanley Burke’s beautiful Day Out series and Image two Raymond Conrad Lawson’s family at Whitstable beach. The exhibition runs at Turner Contemporary from May 25th 2019 - September 8th 2019. Much of 2020 will see this exhibition on national tour.

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The Remembered Dead - Exhibition


The Remembered Dead exhibition took place at Canterbury Christ Church University’s, Powell Lower Foyer Gallery and included a number of artists and objects considering memorialisation, repair and reparation. Artists contributing to the exhibition included:

Graham Goldwater: A Model War

The narrative for Goldwater’s piece is constructed through the battered remnants of toy soldiers and the documentation of World War I reconstructive facial surgery. The series explores themes of war, conflict and memory. Goldwater’s collection of battered and timeworn lead toy soldiers are intimately
documented with large-scale photographs and positioned alongside photographs of drawings by Herbert Cole, (an artist who worked with the surgeon Harold Gillies, documenting facial injuries and their subsequent surgical reconstruction).
Collectively, these images symbolize the military body as it is scarred
and incised by the violence of conflict.

Toy soldiers have been a firm favourite with children for who knows how long, but the 20th century saw the coming of the lead soldier. Cheaper means of mass production and the advent of The Great War made them ever more popular. Different armies’ colours, ranks, jobs and services allowed for a proliferation of models to be collected and played with. For every one bought and carefully stored away, thousands were put into pockets and school satchels and taken around to be fought with, fought over, swopped, held to ransom, burned, stood up, knocked down, dropped from great heights, plunged into water and generally to be as tested as their poor real life counterparts. As such, these models began to pick up all the signs of injury and disfigurement that the real life combatants sustained.

 These modest models were mass-produced but then individually painted. So, like an army, they are comprised of a repetitive cast die but all in their own way individual, with no two exactly alike. 

 (A Model War was originally a UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre exhibition, curated by Wendy Short and Val Williams as a part of Moose on the Loose 2013, and its production supported by London College of Communication.)

Alongside Goldwater’s A Model War a vitrine held the notes from surgeon Sir Harold Gilles.

Gilles Notes

The lists given in Gillies notes attest to the ghastly injuries that could be sustained in the Great War, in amongst the many references to GSW (gun shot wound) are bullet wound lower jaw, shell wound jaw, shrapnel wound face, enucleated eye, loss nasal tip, loss upper third nose, loss of lower jaw, gsw face and mandible maxilla, gsw loss of right eye and upper and lower jaw, plus sadly, several references to ‘mule kick’. A terrible irony that such a disastrous wound, sustained in the middle of the industrially fought Great War, should come from a farmyard animal.

Sir Harold Gillies was one of the pioneering founders of modern plastic surgery. Born in 1882 he was exposed to early attempts at skin grafts in Paris. On his return to London he convinced the Army’s chief surgeon that these new techniques would be not only vital in saving the lives of injured soldiers but also allow them to have some kind of a normal life when returned to civilian duty. In 1917 The Queens Hospital opened in Sidcup where over 11,000 operations took place on over 5,000 men.

Herbert Coles and Henry Tonks were employed by the unit to paint detailed watercolours of the injuries sustained by the men. These are now housed in the library of the Royal College of Surgeons.

The Herbert Coles portraits are used with the kind permission of the Archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

 

Model and Soldier Key

 Manoil 16. A prone machine gunner.

Pte P. Green. 471928. Rfn. Londons 2/12.

GSW Face. 14-06-17

Manoil 43. Kneeling sniper.

Pte W. Gordon. 32515. Rfn. NZRB.

Face. (no date of injury)

Manoil 9. An Officer.

Pte David. Howard. 266228. East Surreys 8th.

GSW Jaw, mouth and mandible. 01-02-18

 Manoil 75. Anti-aircraft searchlight being operated by a soldier.

Pte A. Greive. 4170. Black Watch 8th.

GSW Mouth and nose. 14-10-18

Manoil 93. Soldier in a gasmask carrying a riffle.

Pte J. Eggington. 241460. South Staffs 2/6th.

GSW Nose and right eye. 11-04-17

 Manoil 62. Soldier in bayonet charge.

Pte F. Smith. 241160. Norfolks

GSW Face. 02-11-17

 Manoil 73. Anti Aircraft Gunner

Pte A. Godfrey. NZ X1 Taranaki WG

Face/Eye (no date of injury)

 Manoil 112. An Aviator holding a bomb.

Pte L. Tringham. 235074. Middlesex 12th.

GSW Face, nose and right eye. 08-08-17

 

Karen Shepherdson

Aftermath

 Aftermath was supported by Arts Council England and reappropriates the found images of Ernst Friedrich’s 1924 Krieg dem Kriege. It examines ‘ruination’ relating to the human form, a form all too vulnerable to mechanical warfare. Using the esoteric photographic technique of emulsion lifting, whereby the photographic emulsion - similar to that of a fine layer of skin - is lifted away, each image forces us to consider the fragility of the face and the utter devastation at its loss. A characteristic of emulsion lifts are tears and creases which subsequently require slow, gentle teasing and stroking out by hand using soft natural bristle brushes. This act of stroking and easing the face back into shape is of course in sharp distinction to the moment of facial destruction. 

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This series was shown alongside lead ‘toys’ of WWI Model Medics & Wounded Serviceman (examples from Germany, UK, France and  Belgium), WWI Model Explosions (Lineol, German)

Poignant comparisons could also be made between these ‘toys’ and Fergus Mackain’s iluustraions: Sketches of Tommy’s Life – Up the Line No 1-10 (Set 3, 1917)

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The Remembered Dead: Poetry, Memory and the First World War

This year saw the extraordinary The Remembered Dead by Sally Minogue and Andrew Palmer published by Cambridge University Press. In a period where so much has been published about WWI, this intensely researched book offers new explorations of the poets of that traumatic time and also those poets who would reflect back to that period in their writing. Minogue and Palmer through their collaboration consider the complexity of "how to remember, and commemorate, those killed in conflict". 

I was honoured to have an image made as part of my 2014 project on WWI memorialisation and the face, selected for this important publication's cover. The image Broken Faces II is a Polaroid lift and a detail from Broadstairs war memorial.

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The book is now available from CUP or any good bookshop. 

FORTHCOMING EVENT: Between the Tides: Walpole Bay Tidal Pool at 80

OCTOBER 19th at 6.15, CCCU's Broadstairs Campus

To book event click: HERE

Between the Tides: Walpole Bay Tidal Pool at 80 provides a free evening of gathering, exhibition, film screenings and presentations. 



It might seem strange to celebrate a Pool’s anniversary – but throughout the its 80th year filmmakers and photographers have been engaging with the communities who use this extraordinary and extraordinarily democratic place and space and this free event provides an opportunity to gather and share the work produced with the maker’s reflections. 

This event is being hosted by CCCU’s Centre for Research on Communities & Cultures and is supported by the Walpole Bay Swimmers; A Better Cliftonville and Arts Council England.

 

Beneath the Mask: Artists, Archives and A/Gender at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

March 16th 2017

10.00am – 4.00pm

With wonderful support I have organised the forthcoming event: 'Artists, Archives and A/Gender'. It will provide an exciting day of events, exhibitions and spectacle prompted by Claude Cahun's exploration of identities and masking. This one-day event is in partnership with UAL's Photography and the Archive Research Centre's 'Moose on the Loose' 2017 Festival. Contributions from a number of CCCU's centres’ for research include: the Centre for Research on Communities and Cultures; the Intersectional Centre for Inclusion and Social Justice (INCISE); the Centre for Practice-Based Research in the Arts plus the South East Archive of Seaside (SEAS) Photography.

Come and join us.

To book click here: TICKETS

 

10.00am                      Early Arrivals

10.10am                      Curatorial Walk and Talk: Beneath the Mask & Latent

Katie McGown (Director of the Sidney Cooper)

10.40am                      Arrivals & Coffee

11.00am                      Welcome & Introductions by

Dr Karen Shepherdson (Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Communities & Cultures), Katie McGown & Dr Sara Davidmann (Moose on the Loose 2017 Guest Curator / PARC)

11.10am                      The Photographic Techniques of Claude Cahun as Masked Artist,

James Stevenson, (Director of the V&A Photographic Studio, rtd)

11.40am                      Latent A Hidden History: Homosexuality and the Archive,

In Conversation I – Artist Dr Sam Vale (CCCU) with Prof Stephen Maddison (UEL)

12.10pm                      The Blushing Pavilion,

Presentation by independent artist and curator Carlos Maria Romero

12.40pm                      LUNCH with sweet treats curated/sponsored by PARC

1.40pm                      Creative collaborations and bringing “Ken: To be Destroyed” into     publication,

Dr Sara Davidmann and Prof Val Williams (Director of PARC) in conversation with Dr Karen Shepherdson,

 2.10pm                      Older Women Rock! Poetry as provocation and witness

Performance Poet Leah Thorn (ECPD International Research Fellow) with performance and interactions with the Catwalk Artists

 2.45pm                      Fribs, Tribs and a deaf Tyre Smith: a brief history of androgyny,

Prof Chris Mounsey (University of Winchester)

3.15pm                        Responder to the Day

Prof Bee Scherer (Director of INCISE/CCCU) Responder

3.30-4pm                    Close, Conversations & Slow Farewells