July's eagerly awaited opening of Imperial War Museum London for the Centenary of the First World War will include two major exhibitions showcasing its historic and contemporary art collections
Vying for attention with the weapons, machines and countless fascinating personal objects and stories will be a brace of art exhibition that mine an excellent First World War collection of paintings and reveal the results of a new photography project from Afghanistan.
Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War promises “the largest exhibition of British First World War art for almost 100 years” with over 120 artworks including iconic images by Paul Nash, Percy Wyndham Lewis, CRW Nevinson, Stanley Spencer and William Orpen.
Assessing both the immediate impact and legacy of British art of the First World War, the exhibition will also feature some lesser known names including Anna Airy, George Clausen and Gilbert Rogers and show how artists of all ages, traditions and backgrounds strived to represent the unprecedented, epoch-defining events of the First World War.
With the IWM promising a “new interpretation of British First World War art”, the exhibition will place the artwork firmly within the context of the times, taking into account critical and popular responses and incorporating contemporary artistic debates.
The contemporary strand is represented by IWM Contemporary: Mark Neville, a 2010 project which saw the IWM’s Art Commissions Committee and arts organisation firstsite Colchester, send the photographer to Afghanistan for two months with 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province.
Neville was taken out on patrol to photograph Afghan civilians and British soldiers using a variety of techniques including slow motion filming and the use of a series of backdrops made with resonant images of past wars.
The results are a powerful and poetic response to the Afghanistan war and a reminder of the museum’s adventurous approach to commissioning new art.
- IWM London reveals its new First World War Galleries and new Atrium with large object displays on July 19 2014 to mark the Centenary of the First World War.
Click below to launch a gallery of images from the IWM's First World War collection.
a painting of a factory workshop with female workers tending large artillery shells
a painting of two dead soldiers amidst barbed wire
a painting of a group of soldiers standing in a ruin building in snow
a painting of the interior of a steel works
a painting of a naked female figure prone before a grave
a painting of a dead stretcher bearer wearing a gas mask
a painting of two men in a trench set within a bright but desolate winter landscape
a painting of a long line of soldiers blinded by gas walking through a mass of similarly wounded men
a painting of the shattered trees and shell holes of a battlefield
an abstract Vorticist painting of officers looking towards a wreckage of guns and men
a painting of stretcher bearers bearing wounded on mules towards a dressing station
a painting of a coffin draped in a union jack and a helmet lying in state
- Find out more about the Centenary of the First World War at www.1914.org.uk
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