Press Release: International artists explore conflict and war in new multi-disciplinary display

2 April 2014 By
Mark Neville, Child, Jacket, Slaughtered Goat, Sweets, Painted Nails, Xmas Day, Helmand, 2010, Courtesy of the artist and the Imperial War Museum.
Mark Neville, Child, Jacket, Slaughtered Goat, Sweets, Painted Nails, Xmas Day, Helmand, 2010, Courtesy of the artist and the Imperial War Museum.

For immediate release 2.4.14



59 Central Street, London EC1V 3AF

Public Display: 4 April – 27 June (Tues – Fri, 11.00 – 17.00)

Preview & Talk (Director Caroline Douglas + Curator Midge Palley in conversation with artists Pio Abad + Mark Neville): 3 April, 19.00- 20.30. RSVP essential to


A powerful group of works comprise the Contemporary Art Society’s latest thought-provoking display, CONFLICT: Art and War. The display presents 10 artists who probe themes of conflict, destruction and war. The exhibition is curated by Midge Palley, art collector and Contemporary Art Society Patron.

CONFLICT: Art and War brings together internationally renowned contemporary artists for the first time, with works spanning different media including photography, works on paper, moving image and sculpture. Featured artists include Pio Abad, Broomberg and Chanarin, Adela Jusic, Goncalo Mabunda, Richard Mosse, Shirin Neshat, Mark Neville and Alfred Tarazi. Investigating the political, geographical and social aspects of war, the works on display respond to the theme from various outlooks, presenting direct testimonials, personal experiences or references to historical moments.

Representing Ireland at the 55th Venice Biennale last summer, Richard Mosse explores the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s haunting landscape in his photograph, Poison Glenn (2012). Mosse employs infrared Aerochrome film (used by the military to detect camouflaged installations from the air) to make visible the undocumented wars of conflicting groups hidden within the war-ravaged landscape.

Shirin Neshat‘s internationally revered black and white photography superimposed with farsi calligraphy probes the social and political dimensions of the lives of Muslim women in contemporary society and the conflicts they encounter.

Responding to the violence of Mozambique’s civil war, Goncalo Mabunda builds anthropomorphic sculptures with firearms and objects of destruction. These forms open up a dialogue between traditional African art and the commentary on Mabunda’s own childhood experience of war. Photographer and film maker, Mark Neville was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum and Firstsite in Colchester in 2010, and spent time embedded with the 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province. His photographic work portrays the reality of life on Christmas Day at a front line check point.

Other works on display include David Scherman‘s iconic photograph Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath tub, Munich (1945), as well as works on paper by duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, based on Bertolt Brecht’s 1955 book The War Primer.  The original images and accompanying texts have been overlaid with silkscreened shapes that reference photographs of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sourced from the Internet.

For all press enquiries , including images requests, contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager
jenny@contemporaryartsociety.org44 (0)20 7017 8412

Grace O’Connor, Communications Trainee


Notes to Editors


The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the UK.

*Other forthcoming displays at Contemporary Art Society, 59 Central Street:

Three Women Painters: Phoebe Unwin, Clare Woods & Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (17 APRIL — 13 JUNE, Artist Talk: 15 May, 19.00)

*Key facts about Contemporary Art Society acquisitions:

The Contemporary Art Society is the leading organisation for identifying emerging talent in the UK and has donated many ‘firsts’ to museums across the country throughout its illustrious history, including the first works by Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon and, more recently, the first works by Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Price and 2013 Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost.

  • 1910 Contemporary Art Society makes its first purchase, Augustus John’s Smiling Woman, which was later presented to Tate in 1917
  • 1917 Contemporary Art Society gifts Paul Gauguin’s Tahitians to Tate
  • 1933 Contemporary Art Society gifts Pablo Picasso’s Flowers to Tate – the first Picasso ever to be acquired by Tate
  • 1946 The first work by Francis Bacon is purchased, Figure Study II
  • 1967 Henry Moore’s Knife Edge – Two Piece presented to the City of Westminster and permanently sited in Abingdon Street Gardens, London W1
  • 1988 Mark Wallinger’s Lost Horizon is gifted to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent
  • 1992 Damien Hirst’s Forms Without Life is gifted to Tate – the first Hirst ever to be donated to Tate