Just watching BBC2’s, Britain at War: Imperial War Museum at 1oo, and Cornelia Parker revisits her installation of War Room at The Whitworth in Mancester.
Having stood in the centre of this room, it is unbelievably moving to be gazing on what is essentially missing: the poppy itself. This symbol of remembrance is ingrained on our national psyche. Every year, we have the opportunity to remember all those who gave their lives in warfare and to support the work of the Royal British Legion through purchasing our poppies, but here, Parker has done something quite extraordinary.
The punched out paper sheets and the deep red cannot fail to move you – the symmetry of the rows of poppies are reminiscent of the endless rows of graves, and if you have ever visited the War Graves in France and Belgium, you can see the connection and understand what Parker was showing us.
The room itself is draped in the sheets creating the effect of being in an exotic location:
The space makes you feel uncomfortable whether you are alone or with other people. Where do you stand? What should you do – it feels like a performance space, but what performer would be comfortable here and then you remember a phrase that you is linked to the information you can find on the WW1 Medal cards: “Theatre of War”.
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