I am now starting to pull everything together so I’ve been looking back at my sketch book and my ideas to try and make everything coherent to me. A lot of my research was done in Paris during the Easter holidays, through visiting art galleries and in the way people conduct themselves on a day to day basis. I have read about war, I have seen the photographs and news footage and watched war films but I it is unlikely that I will ever experience war first hand so, when I think of war I think of soldiers lined up, row upon row waiting to go into battle and I think of Blackadder in the Trenches.
In Paris we lined up in a regimental manner to enter the Pompidou Centre and then lined up to get our tickets then lined up to put our coats in, then lined up to go into the exhibition. I walked through galleries and looked at the rows upon rows of Die Attion and Der Sturm.
I saw Marcel Duchamps Neuf Moules Malic and loved the light reflecting a shadow of the image onto the wall – shadows were the only remains of people after the atomic bomb dropped.
The original brief mentioned Guernica by Picasso and I used that as my initial research, as it is an anti-war statement, and also black and white like newspaper photographs.
The more I looked at war work the more I was drawn to the idea of a series of images, I looked at air force insignia of world war 2, I looked at photographs I’d taken at the Rodin Museum of the Gates of Hell , I also looked into work by Ken Currie and Peter Howison. Researching war art and I looked at John Singer Sargent “Gassed” from 1918 (2.5 x 6 metres) and the historical piece Royal Standard of UR from 2600bc and the Bayeux Tapestry 1070 (51cm x 70.4 metres) – I loved the similarity of the flat figures and the twisted torsos. I also like the idea of length v’s height as they are all long works and I see war as regimented rows and soldiers all the same height.
I then looked at Jake and Dinos Chapman and HELL (1998-2000) the images were really disturbing and they made me realise that we are so de-sensitized to war and atrocity it takes two artists to really push boundaries and make us feel shock and disgust. It impressed me and made me decide to take a different route. The Chapman Brothers used Goya’s “Disasters of War” and I want to use Picasso’s Guernica.
By breaking the painting down into 10 pieces, I can then play with the positioning of them – do I want them lined up on the floor like Gormley’s Field or the Terraccota Warriors, or do I want them lying on the floor as though destroyed or lined up against a wall? I was working on the engravings in my studio and the light shone through the windows catching the engraving and casting its shadow across the floor – this is what I hope to recreate