A quick visit this afternoon to the Art Gallery of South Australia to see their special exhibition, Sappers and Shrapnel (11 November 2016-29 January 2017). This exhibition juxtaposes arts and crafts made by soldiers in conflict zones with contemporary Australian and New Zealand art on war.
Two standout pieces that related to the human face and war were by Fiona Hall and Richard Lewer. Hall’s piece, All the King’s Men (2014-2015), below, features a line of heads knitted from the military uniforms of several countries, which have then been manipulated with bones, teeth, glass and other media.
Richard Lewer’s war dioramas included a quiet seated figure, called the Returned Serviceman, whose injuries include facial scars as well as a saddened expression.
Injury to soldiers’ faces is also evoked in his painting The Horrors of War, in the brilliantly titled series, The Best Thing About Being Away is Coming Home (2016).