London 1940 – four panels (2012)
37″ x 30″
photo: Rob Jaffe
All works burnt in accordance with the bomb damage maps of London 1940
The London 1940 panels depict the different wards of East London during World War 2. A meticulous record was kept of the damage that occurred to every street and building, and the maps were colour coded to reflect the level of destruction. The finished structures have been carefully burned away to re -create this record, with areas of total destruction detailed in the maps completely burned away in the sculpture. This four part sculpture is intended to create a powerful visual reminder of the ruined state wrought upon the physical body of London by the war.
The architecture of each panel is created from a text that corresponds to the individual wards. Rosie Allison’s “The Very Thought of You” explores the effects on familial and romantic relations as a result of wartime evacuations. The three remaining panels, based on text from the novels by Christopher Fowler, Graham Greene and Elizabeth Bowen, whose works centre around tales of crime and espionage, highlight the criminal underworld that flourished during the war. Together these texts present a portrait of social life in London during the 1940s.