Aftermath I & II

Shepherdson, K. (2014) Aftermath I & II. In: Remembering, We Forget, 11th November - 17th December 2014, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury. [Show/Exhibition]

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Aftermath I (2014)
Karen Shepherdson

9 x 150mm x 150mm Photographic Emulsion Lifts

“The wounds are horrible, and I for one will be against wars in the future, you have no right to ask men to endure such suffering.” (Henry Tonks, 1915)

Using the materiality of photographic emulsion lifts and drawing upon the polemical found images in Ernst Friedrich’s 1924 Krieg dem Kriege these nine reappropriated images unflinchingly articulate the dreadful facial injury endured in WWI battle.

The devastation of these nine young men’s faces runs counter to the process of making this work. Firstly found archive images are carefully re-photographed and from this new picture, the delicate photographic emulsion (similar in texture to a fine layer of skin) is lifted away, enabling the fragility of the face and the tragedy of its loss to be echoed in the final work. A characteristic of emulsion lifts are tears and creases which require slow, gentle teasing out using soft natural bristle brushes. This tender act of stroking and easing the face back into shape is in stark distinction to the moment of facial destruction.

Aftermath II (2014)
Karen Shepherdson

9 x 150mm x 150mm Photographic Emulsion Lifts

Using the materiality of photographic emulsion lifts these nine collated images fragment the war memorial located at Shepherdson’s hometown of Broadstairs in Kent. The artist spent much time at the memorial, quietly observing how its presence has become so (overly) familiar that, outside of Remembrance Sunday, the site represents little more than overlooked street furniture.

Yet the memorial’s original relief work is highly complex, depicting not only soldiers as active fighters, but also as defeated, injured and exhausted men. Their nationality is to the modern eye at least, strikingly ambiguous and between the groupings of men a centrally placed crucifixion and pietà can be seen. The slow production of emulsion lifts, enables Shepherdson to isolate and significantly enlarge the individuals within the scene and through this process each figure’s plight is amplified and the pathos of post war memorialisation articulated.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0002 General
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N4390 Exhibitions
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Art
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Karen Shepherdson
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 17:05
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2014 17:05

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00