Coventry

Coventry

Coventry 2012
45″ x 45″
music score from Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and poetry by Wilfred Owen
photo: Rob Jaffe

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The sculpture of Coventry has been created using a map of Coventry from 1945. The sculpture has been burnt in accordance with damage depicted on maps that showed the damaged areas of the city in WW2. Coventry suffered perhaps the most extensive bombing of any British city being attacked on a number of occasions. On November 14 1940 the city center was largely destroyed, as the city was subject to a wave of high explosive bombs and incendiary bombs. The methods employed here were later copied by the RAF, the city of Dresden was to be the recipient of the most devastating version. Coventry did not suffer to quite the extent of Dresden, where tens of thousands died in the firestorm that completely engulfed the city. Nonetheless much of the historic medieval core of Coventry was lost and like Dresden the Cathedral was destroyed too. Unlike Coventry, Dresden’s Frauenkirche was rebuilt, where as the Coventry Cathedral was left a ruin to commemorate the war. Next to these ruins a new Cathedral was constructed.

The new Cathedral was inaugurated by the performance of a specially commissioned orchestral work “War Requiem” by Benjamin Britten in 1962. The score of this work forms the walls of the sculpture of Coventry. The music score contained nine poems by first world war poet Wilfred Owen, the text of these has been included with the music score. The text of these poems has been written into the street network of war time Coventry. The Latin chorus forms the outside circumference of the sculpture.

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