I am no longer an artist. I am a messenger who will bring back word... to those who want the war to go on forever. It will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.Paul Nash, writing home from the front line
I’d like to explore Paul Nash’s role in the birth of modernism and surrealism, and how those movements were actually witnessed by Nash in the dream-/nightmare-like battlefields of the war. He used the landscape that he loved to try to deal with what he’d been through, and to try and find calm and solace beyond.Dave McKean
The painter Paul Nash joined the British army when he was 25 years old, signing up six weeks after the start of the First World War. The appalling experiences he endured, first as a soldier and later as an official war artist, prompted him to create paintings of disturbing, lasting power. Nash’s paintings inspired major new work by Dave McKean, the highly acclaimed illustrator, filmmaker and musician.
Dave McKean has previously collaborated with figures as diverse as Neil Gaiman, Richard Dawkins and Heston Blumenthal. In May 2016, McKean’s response to Nash’s work was issued as a special limited-edition book before being published as a graphic novel in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Black Dog launched with a series of multimedia performances, with text, images and music performed by McKean and friends.
Dave McKean returns to Rye Arts Festival on 18 September 2018. Nash’s First World War experience is told in music, song and imagery by world-renowned cellist and baritone Matthew Sharp and violinist Clare Haythornthwaite.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival and On a Marché sur la Bulle