French soldier 1914-1918 - London, Imperial War Museums
Love is expressed in several different ways. Firstly in letters, but also in the visual arts, on paper and on canvas, in photography and in cinema. “Love Letters” follows the visual traces of famous and lesser-known romances, from the prude Victorian society and the liberated yet defeatist gay Twenties to the elusive desire of the “fin de siècle” and the insanity of the war years. Tender, devoted and hidden romances alternate with unrequited and forbidden love, which is recorded, painted, sculpted, photographed and filmed with admiration, ecstasy, desire or even despair. Lovers appeal to the imagination. We look and listen to what Guillaume Apollinaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Camille Claudel, Hannah Höch, F.T. Marinetti and Pablo Picasso have to say on the subject of love. And because love is an everyday occurrence, everyday stories also deserve a platform. As a consequence of literacy and the development of the mail system, the art of correspondence experienced an unprecedented growth during the First World War (1914-1918). The wartime love letters – handwritten messages to loved ones in remote destinations - which were written on and behind the frontlines and which helped the writers on either side of the frontline briefly forget about the horrors of war, are unknown but especially poignant.
At the same time, the museum will exhibit the project of Mona Hatoum, an artist of Palestinian origin, in whose work the concept of love and war is always present in one way or another.
MSK Gent 08.11.2014 -22.02.2015
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