“Evil and the incarnate fiend can alone be master of this war, and no glimmer of God’s hand can be seen anywhere. Sunset and sunrise are blasphemous, they are mockeries to man, only the black rain out of the bruised and swollen clouds all through the bitter black of night is fit atmosphere in such a land.”
Letters from the front, Paul Nash
“How can we fail to see that, in the wake of the hecatomb of the Great War, when Braque and Otto Dix found themselves on opposite sides of the trenches in the mud of the Somme, modern art for its part forgot about the wound and concentrated on the knife”1. A century later, the collective known as Acid Drop Copse2 seeks to reflect upon this wound, making work that enables a contemporary audience to reflect upon this most abject of transgressions, that still uncomfortably echo’s in today’s political landscape.
“The Somme”, ArtMoorHouse presents the first London showing of the group timed to coincide with Remembrance Day which will run for a month from November 7th. The battle was fought across a 20-mile-long front, as both sides ebbed and flowed over the same ground; dead bodies, stagnant shell holes, entrenched men living in mud and wooden constructions, a desolate landscape populated by black dying trees and gangrenous rotting flesh. But by the end of the 6-month battle, British and French troops had advanced only 6 miles, with over 1,000,000 casualties.
So many battles were fought for no gain, so many people died for no gain.
1 Paul Virilio, Art and Fear
2 Acid Drop Copse was a wood in the battlefields of the Somme, nick-named by the soldiers after the tart acid-drop boiled sweet they remembered from home. A|D|C collective (formed in 2016) is currently a disparate group of eleven artists who work across diverse practices, and challenge ideas of making, craft and materiality.
Exhibition Catalogue – here
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