Les mots pour le faire

This was a project for the ‘Hors les Murs’ programme of the Parc St. Leger Centre d’art contemporain, Pougues-les-Eaux, Burgundy, France, where I was an artist in residence from September 2005 – March 2006. The exhibition, with Maria Chevska and Yves Chaudouët was at the Musée Romain Rolland, Clamecy, 13/4/06 – 31/8/06.

My starting-point was a text by the author Romain Rolland, who was born in the building that now houses the museum. ‘Au-dessus de la mêlée’ (1916) is a powerful indictment of the First World War and especially of the way in which intellectuals supported that war.  But it stands as more generally one of the great pacifist texts. I made a small ‘Book-Painting’ of the work and then proceeded to explore other possibilities. In the end I made a number of works on the theme of war and patriotism, and in particular  about my feelings concerning French attitudes to the two World Wars.

‘Mort Pour la France’ - A  four-part painting employed the phrase ‘Mort pour la France’ which is found written after the name of each fallen soldier in the Rolls of Honour’ in cemeteries and on War Memorials.