Graphic War at Kew

What are your thoughts on how one branch of art and design can influence another? There's a new exhibition of seven World War I themed sculptures on at the National Archives at Kew that provides food for thought about this.

Ian Kirkpatrick, Kingdom of Dreams, 2015

Ian Kirkpatrick, Kingdom of Dreams, 2015

It developed from artist Ian Kirkpatrick's residency with Leeds Museums and Galleries in 2015. Not only are the works heavily influenced by First World War packaging design, but they are made from cardboard and can be installed from an initial 'flat pack' state, allowing them to be collapsed and reassembled elsewhere. The works came to the attention of Archives staff when some of them were exhibited at an event held at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. However, they were initially exhibited across Leeds in November 2015 as part of a city-wide sculptural trail curated by Lucy Moore of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Earlier that year, Ian had secured Leverhulme Trust funding for an artists' residency with them. During his time in Leeds, he immersed himself in their collection of graphic designs produced between 1914 and 1918. Ian focused on design as an emotional tool, examining its influence on life both at home and on the battlefield. For example, how was graphic design intended for consumption by soldiers different in tone, tactic or quality from that made for the home front, and did it become more nationalistic as the war progressed? 

Despite being contemporary in appearance, Ian's work has a strong base in archival and object-based research. If you'd like to see it, the exhibition's on until 14 January 2017. Perhaps it might inspire your own work...