Artist: Ann COPEMAN
Medium: brown paper, brown cardboard
Dimensions: 230 x 140 cm
My installation piece - Lament - examines the plight of the shell-shocked soldier, using hand-perforated sheets (reminiscent of the pianola scrolls in common use at home around the time of WW1) of simple brown paper, spelling out the silent words, which echo their shadows on the gallery wall. These words came out of my research into shell-shock, and arrived as a kind of ‘cri de coeur’ (cry of the heart) from my imaginings of being in such an overwhelming situation and seeing no way out. The plain brown cardboard boxes piled in disarray on the shelf above the scrolls of paper conjure up the silence of the pianola tunes that once gathered families around the piano for sing-songs, and also reference the discarded and unsung casualties of war.
The single word Silence on the right side paper scroll carries allusions to the silence of the dead; the emotional stoicism of the mothers and families in the wake of the death of their loved ones; the silence of the returned soldiers suffering in their various ways from shell-shock, and the silent impact their suffering had on their loved ones over generations; finally, the silence of the authorities who failed in many ways to honor or compensate those who had died ‘doing their duty’, especially if their duty was deemed not to match up to an expected ‘hero’ status. My grandfather was wounded in the Gallipoli campaign. The diary he wrote during his time there was the original inspiration for making this piece, and started me on a quest to understand more about the psychological consequences of war.
Ann Copeman is a contemporary artist who lives in Albany. She completed a Master of Visual Art at Monash University in 2011. Ann explores narratives of the mind and body in her work and seeks to express these ideas through painting, drawing, printmaking and installation.