Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Glasgow Show

November saw the Armed Forces Art Society hold its first show ever outside London, in the Lighthouse, Glasgow.  The show was entitled 'Articles of War' - the name I suggested to Eve Montgomerie who has now taken over from me as the Chairman of the Society.  Eve curated the exhibition but as the outgoing Chairman I was still responsible for the decision to go to Glasgow and so worked harder than ever to help making it a success, driving the work up from the South with Francesca Bex,  setting up the show, manning the gallery every day, taking down the show and driving unsold work back south.  It was an exhausting time but we did it and the experiment was a great success.

I submitted 2 works: the sandbag soldier 'Do Not Go Gentle' and an installation made from 60 double-sided tiles that I called '60 Trench Testimonies'.  These had images and texts on one side and on the other side more images with extracts from the letters of soldiers on both sides of the Western Front.  The catalogue for the show was enormously expensive and very beautiful but unfortunately the author left out all reference to 60 Trench Testimonies!  It was also the only work out of 70 or so to be omitted.  The news that this had happened was met with disbelief by my artist friends and still rankles but it is too late now to correct the mistake.  I have dined out several times on the story!

Here are some shots of the finished 'Do Not Go Gentle' (the sandbag soldier).

And a selection of the tiles of 60 Trench Testimonies

I am hoping to find a good way of displaying the tiles in future as I intend to resubmit the work for next year's show at the Menier Gallery in June.  One thought is to enclose them in perspex as a vertical 'sheet', in much the same way as Raphael's drawings on both sides of a sheet of paper were displayed at the recent Ashmolean exhibition.

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