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AFTERMATH

New exhibition at Tate Britain explores the impact of World War One on British, German and French art.

Marking 100 years since the end of World War I, Tate Britain’s new show - Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One – analyses the impact and the response of the artists to the physical and psychological scars left by the horrors of war.

Art was used in many ways in the tumultuous period after the end of the war, from documenting its destructive impact, to the building of public memorials and as a social critique.

Aftermath presents us with several aspects of what it means to have come through a world war. Partly this is the harrowing and profound experiences you would expect: death and loss, the devastation of homes and the environment. Also, we’re shown more subtle issues to do with culture transforming itself: new artistic languages to describe and understand a transformed world. 

This exhibition contains larger and smaller stories, endless devastation, craters and death, flags and crosses, body parts, screams and sorrows.

But what came after the war is part of the story, the world’s own aftermath. We see bucolic landscapes, portraits of complacent profiteers, nightclubs and jazz and social inequality. We’re shown the possibility of a new, technological future – exemplified by elevated railways and soaring radio towers in Berlin, photographs of gleaming machinery and abstracted steelworks. All this juxtaposed against uncanny cornfields, uneasy and brooding couples, the harrowed and the elegant, intimations of an unknown future.

Aftermath: Art In The Wake Of World War One
Tate Britain
5 June - 23 Sept 2018