Dispatches from an unofficial war artist
For more than twenty-five years, Peter Kennard has used his skills as a polemical artist to produce an astonishing collection of political photomontage images and installation work.Trained in Fine Art, Kennard abandoned painting in the 1970s in search of a new form of expression that could bring art and politics together for a wider audience. Written from a highly personal perspective, Dispatches from an Unofficial War Artist traces Kennard's artistic, political and personal development, from his early paintings in a coalshed, to art school and to a number of left-wing and radical campaigns, including those for CND. It brings together Kennard's own musings on his childhood, art, international politics and British society to make for a fascinating portrait of the times and of Kennard himself.In her introduction, Amanda Hopkinson discusses the historical roots of Kennard's work, examining Constructivism, the development of photography and photomontage, and the close relationship between art, politics and propaganda. Kennard himself writes about the possibilities of undertaking an aesthetic practice in relation to social change, and considers how his art has interacted with the politics of actual events. The narrative is thematic rather than chronological, showing how a visual motif can be re-used in different contexts. Kennard's original artwork is often reproduced alongside the newspaper or poster in which it appeared.
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