Shaping Memory: Sculpture at the Australian War Memorial
- Shaping memory
- First World War
- Second World War
- Post-war responses
- Future directions
The contemporary practice of sculpture takes many forms: from traditional object-based works to virtually any work that transcends the two-dimensional realm of painting and drawing, even those that fall somewhere between idea and object, such as examples of conceptual, ephemeral, digital, and installation art.
Today works that continue to deal with questions of identity or which serve to illustrate history coexist with those that suggest more iconoclastic or overtly critical views. In whatever form, sculpture still offers powerful symbols: we still see monuments being torn down after the regimes they signify topple. Society’s need for these symbols is undiminished, and finding an appropriate manner of addressing the complexities of national commemoration will require new approaches by artists. Whatever the results, sculpture is certain to maintain its historic role as the most natural and distinguished medium for the commemorative impulse. In the 21st century, the ancient link between sculpture and the commemoration of war remains as strong as ever.
A contemporary artist based in Perth, Doug Sheerer works with the artistic possibilities generated by computer-based images. In Game-play he explores ideas of simulation and reality involved in the bombing of Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, incorporating graphics from a computer game, F-19 Stealth Fighter, and photographs of Byzantine mosaics.
This particular work was conceived after hearing Bush talk about bombing around the clock seven days a week. It struck me that the whole action taking place was just like a Computer Fighter Simulation yet the stakes included historic and religious monuments It was a Cinerama type War fought by technicians and tacticians from behind a computer screen.