An exploration of the influence on artists and surgeons of the facial injuries suffered during the First World War. The exhibition brings together collections of historical objects and artworks from the last hundred years, including works by the artist Wyndham Lewis and specially commissioned works by the 1914FACES2014 artist in residence Paddy Hartley.
The unprecedented numbers of facial injuries in 1914-18 led to both innovations in surgical practice and to a permanently changed understanding of the face. Just as artistic practice fed into surgical practice (through sculptors working as mask-makers), so the radically new forms of surgery developed at this time changed the context in which artists represented the face.
The exhibition looks at the unique historical situation of the facially injured soldiers of the First World War, the complex question of their reintegration into society and the long-term cultural legacy of that situation.
The exhibition features historical artefacts and archives associated with Sir Harold Gillies’ pioneering surgical work at the Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, which are on loan from the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. They are connected to artworks created during and immediately after the First World War (by Wyndham Lewis and George Grosz) and to contemporary work by René Apallec, Eleanor Crook and Paddy Hartley.
Organised in partnership with the University of Exeter, the exhibition arises from the EU INTERREG IV-funded project 1914FACES2014, led by Prof Bernard Devauchelle (Institut Faire Faces) and Prof David Houston Jones (University of Exeter). Paddy Hartley is the 1914FACES2014 artist in residence at the University of Exeter.