Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist Exhibition

Peter Kennard is a political artist who affronts issues of the world. His work is a form of expression towards the effects of war. Much of his war was influenced by the anti-Vietnam war movement, he done this through means of collage, photomontage, and other experimental medias.

Kennard’s work is very expressive and can essentially be seen as quite provocative. Much of his design allows the viewer to trigger thoughts about the effects of war and violence. By encouraging onlookers to consider this, his work effectively works well by making others realise the importance of its message purely through image.

The exhibition was small and compact but contained lots of strongly considered imagery. The photomontages were extremely well thought out and the composition and image placement of each component allowed a clear message to be conveyed.

This is the wall of Kennard's photomontage work.

Above is the wall of Kennard’s photomontage work.

Another example, of Peter Kennard’s successfully expressive work is first visible upon entering the exhibition. It consisted of a series of large prints/paintings representing war medals. The medals are made up of flags, uniform and other military materials. They look worn and battered which adds effect by portraying a visual which suggests something that has been ‘broken’ and ‘damaged’, perhaps connoting the effects on war veterans and soldiers. Representative of the medals, things such as gas masks and injured skulls hang where the medal would have. This is a very powerful image and is extremely striking for us as viewers. This theme continued throughout the whole gallery.

Above is an example of the series explained above.

Above is an example of the series explained above.

Another piece in this exhibition is entitled ‘Newspaper’. This was created by photocopying his hands onto financial pages of newspapers. He then worked over the copy with print toner and charcoal. the photocopied hands have a physical appearance of tearing at the paper itself which creates a message of destruction and hate. This also shows Kennard’s frustration with what society leads us to believe through the media.

Above is Kennard's creation.

Above is Kennard’s creation.

Above is the annotations explaining the works

Above is the annotations explaining the works

This exhibition has allowed me to appreciate the art of photomontage much more as it was extremely well through out and also very, very effective in its ways. The imagery sparked ideas in my mind which also educated me in the effects of modern war. Peter Kennard is definitely a controversial artist who works in very expressive ways. I really like his work and the ideas that he has. In relation to previous lectures, the Anti-war nature of the design reminds me of the bauhaus anti-facism work. This was also used for effect and gave a great message to the public at the time. Regarding the relation between image and text, Kennard’s work complements this theory. The placement and text work well with the image itself and colour is extremely considered. With the design that does not contain text, the image is often strong enough to convey a message without any letters.


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