Royal Air Force News Friday, November 17, 2023 P21
New war galleries open T
HE IMPERIAL War Museum London has opened the UK’s first art, film and photography galleries dedicated to conflict, to coincide with Remembrance Sunday. And John Singer Sargent’s iconic, monumental World War I painting Gassed has returned to display there for the first time since 2016, following extensive conservation. Other works being exhibited at the new Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries include Queen and Country, Steve McQueen’s response to the 2003 war in Iraq. An IWM spokesperson said: “Thanks to generous support from main funder the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries will be the UK’s first to explore how artists, photographers and filmmakers bear witness to and tell the story of war and conflict. “Works by artists including Paul Nash, Laura Knight and
Rosalind Nashashibi demonstrate how artistic interpretation can uniquely shape our understanding of war. With diverse displays from filmmakers including Peter Jackson and photographers including Olive Edis, Cecil Beaton and Tim Hetherington, the new permanent galleries will reflect global conflict from 1914 to the present day.” Caro Howell, IWMs’ director general, said: “Artists, filmmakers and photographers are eyewitnesses, participants and commentators on conflict. Their work provides critical insight and perspective, while also having the power to deeply move us. We are therefore extremely grateful to our supporters, particularly the Blavatnik Family Foundation, for their generous support in making these beautiful galleries a reality, for enabling us to shine a light on our exceptionally rich visual media collections and for bringing them to a wider audience.”
GASSED: John Singer Sargent’s harrowing World War I painting Gassed is back at IWM London after conservation work
The spokesperson added: “The development of the galleries is part of the third phase in the dynamic transformation of IWM London. They enable us to share works from our exceptional art collection, one of the world’s most important representations of 20th century British art. “The galleries will include around 500 works from IWM’s collection, showcasing some of the vast and era-defining film and
photography collections, which include more than 23,000 hours of footage and over 12 million photographs.” At the centre of the galleries, Practice and Process will include objects such as a wooden pencil box belonging to artist and WWII prisoner of war Ronald Searle and paintbrushes carried by John Nash on the Western Front. On display for the first time will be documents and a press pass belonging to
Paul Eedle, a war reporter and filmmaker who produced awardwinning coverage from Baghdad of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 for Channel 4 News. Images of filmmakers, artists and photographers at work in conflict zones will reveal their privileged viewpoint and special access on the ground, as well as the challenges and risks – including threat to life – that they face. l Go to: iwm.org for more details.
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