Lightbox to Present THE HORSE AT WAR: 1914-1918, 25 Nov - 1 March 2015
The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey, will commemorate the centenary of World War One with the exhibition 'The Horse at War: 1914 - 1918' (25 November 2014 - 1 March 2015). Exploring the role of the horse in World War One, the exhibition will compare the glorified image of Officers and their chargers at War with the piteous desolation of these animals as beasts of burden when faced with gunfire and trench warfare.
The Lightbox is delighted to announce that 'Joey', the original West End horse puppet from the National Theatre's acclaimed stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel 'War Horse', will feature in the exhibition. The puppet, designed by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of Handspring Puppet Company, has kindly been loaned to The Lightbox by the Victoria and Albert Museum's Theatre and Performance Collections. This will be the first time that 'Joey' will have been shown in an exhibition outside of London.
Three mannequin puppeteers, in costumes designed by Illustrator and Theatre Designer Rae Smith, who won Tony and Olivier Awards for her scenic designs and drawings for the National Theatre's production of 'War Horse', will be displayed with Joey. Drawings by Rae Smith, which were created for sensational projections and animations for the National Theatres Live performance of 'War Horse', will also feature in the exhibition. Rae Smith's 'The War Horse Panorama', a 24 metre panoramic which tells the entire story of 'War Horse', will also be on show.
Michael Morpurgo's author's note for 'War Horse' states that his inspiration for the character Captain Nicholls came from an old oil painting with an inscription of the name 'Joey'. Rae Smith recreated the character's sketchbook and these drawings became the 26 metre long scenic backdrop for the performance of 'War Horse'. Examples of works by World War One artists, similar to that of the painting that inspired Morpurgo's novel, will also be included in the exhibition.
Now celebrating its seventh year on the London stage, Nick Stafford's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book continues to play to sell-out houses, and has been seen by over 5 million people worldwide. 'War Horse' tells the story of a young boy Albert, and his beloved horse Joey, who has been requisitioned by the army to fight in World War One. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man's Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home.
Chris Harper, Producer of 'War Horse', said "We are delighted that Joey, the equine star of War Horse will have a new temporary home at The Lightbox in Woking as part of this important exhibition about horses in World War One. War Horse has had an incredible journey from its beginnings at the National Theatre in 2007 and with its continued run in the West End, and in this poignant year that marks the World War One centenary, we hope that Joey's appearance at the exhibition, will help to inform this generation about the important contribution horses made 100 years ago."
Curator of the exhibition, Michael Regan, has developed a unique layout which will depict the story of the horse at war through many different facets, combining contemporary elements with original works from artists present in the battlefield.
The exhibition will also investigate the effects that losing thousands of horses to the war effort had on the local Surrey farming communities and other businesses that relied on horses for transport.
Highlights of this exhibition will include:
Joey, the original West End puppet from the National Theatre's award-winning stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel 'War Horse'. The Handspring Puppet Company donated Joey to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013, and will be on display at The Lightbox from 25 November 2014 until 1 March 2015. The West End Production of 'War Horse' continues at the New London Theatre, currently booking until 14 February 2015. It is also currently on a tour of the UK and Ireland.
Forward the Guns! 1917, Lucy Kemp-Welch, Tate. This picture portrays a charge of horses pulling artillery. According to the artists' obituary in 'The Times', Kemp-Welch had sat with her easel on Salisbury Plain while eight batteries of horse artillery were driven towards her so that she could sketch the general outline of their movement. The artist's original sketches will also be displayed alongside the painting.
Cavalry Charge Led by Lieutenant G. M. Flowerdew, VC, Alfred James Munnings, The Munnings Collection at Castle House, Dedham. Munnings was assigned as a war artist to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and many of his works were painted a short distance from the German front lines. This painting portrays the raw reality of a mounted charge in the First World War, where technical advances in warfare changed the role of the horse at war forever.
Canadians Cutting and Carting Wood, Farnham, 1919, Alfred Thomas Porter, Imperial War Museum. This painting shows the amount of resources that were involved in fighting a war, a Canadian regiment cutting huge amounts of wood for the war effort in Farnham, it also shows another way in which horses were used as beasts of burden.
'The Horse at War: 1914 - 1918' will be on show at The Lightbox from 25 November 2014 - 1 March 2015, entrance is free. For further information please visit www.thelightbox.org.uk.