Photo: Yazid Medmoun

Photo: Yazid Medmoun

Tomb

Historial de la Grande Guerre
Péronne
France

2013

Tomb, a temporary art installation at France's leading World War One museum, comprised approximately 15,000 First World War New Zealand, French, Australian, and German soldier-shaped Anzac recipe biscuits stacked in the form of a memorial.

The sculpture was intended to explore the 'consumption' of martial sacrifice in conflict and, its 'celebration' and 'commemoration' in the formation of national identity. Its form is based on the 1:1 dimensions and shape of the Stone of Remembrance 'altar' designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and found in Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. Tomb's positive form also references the Historial's display 'pits' in which artefacts are placed in 'negative space' below the level of the floor plane, evoking what lies beneath the battlefield's surface.

Lutyens's stone memorial is inscribed with the words "Their name liveth for evermore".Tomb is a 'New Memorial Forms' project in which the artist critiques orthodox notions of a 'memorial' by challenging fixity of meaning and conventional perceptions of physical permanence.