Art Marks Great War With Ceramic Poppies, Films and Ghost Sculptures

To mark the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, which began at  23:00 on 4 August 1914 and continued until 11 November 1918, the Tower of London is mounting a major new installation, ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is an evolving installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with staging by set designer Tom Piper. The piece will signify one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, one of the costliest conflicts in terms of lives lost in history. Throughout the war almost 900,000 people lost their lives fighting for the British army.

Entitled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, the installation has been created in the Tower’s famous dry moat. It will continue to grow throughout the summer until the moat is filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies, each poppy representing a British or Colonial military fatality during the war.

The poppies will encircle the Tower, creating not only a spectacular display, but also an inspiring setting for learning activities, as well as providing a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation reflects the magnitude of such an important centenary, creating a powerful visual commemoration.

Jeremy Deller, the Turner Prize winning artist best known for his ‘Lights Out Lights On’ installation, now in the permanent collection of the Tate has created a new free app as part of 14-18 NOW, the cultural programme marking the centenary of the First World War.  The work comprises four films devised by the artist which audiences in the UK and across the world will be able to watch for free by downloading an app, available from today. The work is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and The Space, and is produced by Somethin’ Else.

Sculptor Gerry Judah’s has also unveiled his much anticipated twin sculptures in the nave of St Paul’s Cathedral. The work has been installed to commemorate the First World War.  Their white cruciform shapes evoking the meticulously maintained war graves of northern France and further afield, in fact represent an utterly contemporary questioning of the continued need for warfare.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “A hundred years ago today Britain entered the First World War and we are marking that centenary to honour those who served, to remember those who died, and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever.

Paul Cummins is an international applied artist based in Derby known for his distinctive landscape installations and traditional puncheons. Derby-based Paul Cummins Ceramics has received a £170,000 grant and £280,000 loan from the £20 million Derby Enterprise Growth Fund, run by Derby City Council. The DEGF is part of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, set up last year to support innovation, expansion and job creation amongst businesses in the Derby and surrounding area through grants and loans.

Jeremy Deller has exhibited widely internationally and selected monographic exhibitions include: Unconvention (1999, Centre for Visual Arts, Cardiff), After the Goldrush(2002, Wattis Institute, San Francisco), Folk Archive with Alan Kane (2004, Centre Pompidou, Paris and Barbican Art Gallery, London), Jeremy Deller (2005, Kunstverein, Munich), From One Revolution to Another (2008, Palais de Tokyo, Paris), It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq (2009, New Museum, NY, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), Processions (2009, Cornerhouse, Manchester) and Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery which is currently touring in the US.

Gerry Judah who was Born in 1951 in Calcutta, India,moved to London with his family at the age of ten years old. A graduate of Goldsmiths College and Slade School of Fine Art, Judah has worked on settings for some of the UK’s leading theatres, museums and public spaces, including the Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Museum, English National Opera and Royal Ballet. In 2000, the Imperial War Museum commissioned Judah to create a large-scale model of the selection ramp in Auschwitz- Birkenau for the Holocaust Exhibition, opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The project signalled a shift in the thematics of Judah’s work towards art borne of his reflections on political, historical and environmental issues, culminating in collaborations with organisations including Christian Aid and the British High Commission, India.

The last poppy will symbolically be planted on 11 November 2014.

Buy a poppy – Each ceramic poppy will be available to buy for £25

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