Forthcoming book chapter (November 2020): ‘Between Art and History: Otto Dix’s Metropolis’ in Artistic Expressions and the Great War, ed. by Sally Charnow (New York: Peter Lang, 2020).
Otto Dix’s thirty-eight months as a frontline soldier were the key to much of his post-war output. Alongside numerous portraits and other commissioned work, his portrayal of post-war German society and the war experience made him one of Germany’s most internationally known and controversial living artists. His sparse commentary on his work during the 1920s and 1930s have only enhanced the pictures’ enigma, then and since. Yet, much may be gleaned as to how the works engaged with the memory of the war in Germany by address to cultural and political conditions, and by examining the reception of the work by cultural critics. This chapter examines how Dix’s large triptych Metropolis (Figure 1) contributed to the shaping of war memory in Germany in 1928, ten years after the armistice, treating how the artist’s invocation of German artistic traditions and revocation of prevailing models of militant identity worked to reconfigure German memorialisation of World War I. A link to the book’s webpage will be added once available.
I am delighted to announce that I have been invited to join the Topics Board of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752), an international peer-reviewed open access journal, listed on Clarivate’s Web of Science ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index). Arts is published quarterly online by MDPI in March, June, September and December. I am delighted to be placed among such great academic and professional company and look forward to collaborating.
In the Fray: Making and Meaning in Jenny Bowker’s Memorial Quilt After the Last Sky, H-Art Issue 7, Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes), Bogotá, Colombia, July 2020
This essay explores meaning and materiality in the monumental memorial quilt After the Last Sky by Australian art-quiltmaker Jenny Bowker, which memorialises the suffering of protesters during the Rabaa Square Massacre in Cairo on 14 August 2013. The essay shows how Bowker’s migration of the photographic image to quilt form, as well as the quilt’s meaningful, strategic use of medium and relevance to current artistic developments challenge the limits placed on textiles as art. Read full article online (journal webpage)
Resumen – Español: En la Refriega:1 La Creación y el Significado en el Edredón Conmemorativo After the Last Sky [Después del Último Cielo] de Jenny Bowker
Este ensayo explora el significado y la materialidad en el monumental edredón conmemorativo After the Last Sky de la artista australiana Jenny Bowker, que conmemora el sufrimiento de los manifestantes durante la Masacre de la Plaza de Rabaa en El Cairo el 14 de agosto de 2013. El ensayo muestra como el trabajo de Bowker pone a prueba los límites impuestos al textil en cuanto medio artístico a través del traslado de la fotografía a la forma de edredón, haciendo también un uso estratégico de este medio que le da relevancia en el marco de los desarrollos artísticos actuales.Leer ensayo completo
‘Käthe Kollwitz: Memorialisation as Anti-Militarist Weapon’, Arts – Special Issue: World War, Art, and Memory: 1914 to 1945, ed. by Andrew Nedd, 2020.
Abstract: This essay explores Käthe Kollwitz’s anti-war graphic work in the context of the German, and later, international No More War movement from 1920 to 1925, where it performed an important role in anti-militarist campaigns, exhibitions and publications, both in Germany and internationally. Looking at Kollwitz’s production closely, we discover a deeply pragmatic artistic strategy, where the emotionality of Kollwitz’s famed prints was the result of tireless technical, formal and compositional investigation, contrived to maximise emotional impact. By choosing the easily disseminated medium of printmaking as her main vehicle and using a deliberately spare but powerful graphic language in carefully chosen motifs, Kollwitz intended her art to reach as broad an audience as possible in engaging anti-war sentiment. In connection with the leading anti-war voices of the time, including French Nobel Prize-winning writer Romain Rolland and the founder of War Resisters’ International, Helene Stöcker, she deployed her work to reach beyond the confines of the art gallery and into internationally distributed posters, periodicals and books. Keywords: World War I; German art; anti-war; Käthe Kollwitz; Weimar; printmaking; graphic art; anti-militarism; memory; memorialization; No More War movement; modernism. Read …
Public Lecture, 28 Oct 2019: Western Front Association, Cork BranchOtto Dix and the Visual Memory of the Western Front of the Great War.
This lecture will provide insight to German artist Otto Dix’s war pictures, from those created during his training for the battlefield through to his post World War II works of the late 1940s. The lecture analyses the extent to which the pictures engaged with the politics of war memorialisation in changing artistic, social and political contexts.
Ann Murray, ed., Constructing the Memory of War in Visual Culture since 1914: The Eye on War (Routledge, 2018)
This collection offers a transnational, interdisciplinary approach to the impact of war on visual media from the outbreak of World War I to the present, examining a diverse range of visual material which reflect the heterogeneity of experiences and perspectives that have characterised artistic responses to war in the past century. It aims to contribute in a meaningful manner to the growing discourse on the memorialisation of war in art by exploring works that have resulted from an environment of war and across a broad range of twentieth century conflicts. With a foreword by Dr Laura Brandon, CM, PhD, Adjunct Professor, former Historian, Art and War, Canadian War Museum. The table of contents and introduction is here