Behind the Twisted Wire: New Zealand Artists in World War I
Wily Publications, $50.00,
Recently, I had the privilege of watching the magnificently restored WWI propaganda film, Battle of the Somme (1916). Shot by official cinematographers during the preliminaries and first days of what became months of horrific attrition, living, moving, smoking, marching, working, waving, laughing men are immortalised. Across the span of a century, our eyes meet those of young soldiers, in that long-gone, masculine world behind the lines; we have the poignant knowledge of the brutal fate awaiting many, and the trauma facing all. I begin with the film, in the context of this review, because the contrast between it and the art of the book highlight some of the representational issues with which each medium grappled.
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