A group of diverse artists who go by the name “Acid Drop Copse” come together in an exhibition to commemorate the Battle of the Somme at Honeywood in Carshalton, Surrey from 22nd June until 31st July 2016. The show will then transfer to the ArtMoorHouse Gallery in the City of London in November for Remembrance Day. In disciplines ranging from sculpture, metal casting, encaustic art, oil painting, print making, ceramics, floristry, collage and contemporary jewellery, these practitioners are united by a desire to examine and reinterpret the events that began on July 1st 1916 in Picardy.
Acid Drop Copse was a wood in the battlefields of the Somme, destroyed by the war and so nick-named by the soldiers after the tart acid-drop boiled sweet they knew from home. The art collective was inspired by this name, and like the confection, is a complex mixture of bitter and sweet surprises, promising to make for a diverse and thought-provoking exhibition.
In 2015 Ingrid Barber had exhibited a large-scale wax and metal piece made out of children’s toys at the Fine Art Society Contemporary in London to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. She began thinking about the idea of taking a new look at the traditional images of World War One for the Somme anniversary in 2016, by organizing a group exhibition featuring artists from very different artistic disciplines. She met up with Jeremy Clark, sculptor, in Minden, Germany where they were both representing Sutton in an international art exhibition. Two like-minded souls instantly clicked and discovered a common interest in the Somme. The Honeywood Museum and Arts Network Sutton offered to host their idea of a contemporary group art exhibition to commemorate the start of the battle and so “Acid Drop Copse co-operative” came into being and the work began.
“My work is rooted in early childhood memories of summer holidays, being taken round Dachau, Hitler’s bunker, Auschwitz and the battlefields of France by my father who was fascinated by the World Wars. I have misty recollections of spending many fraught hours driving around the graveyards outside Arras, looking for our relative Sydney Hurst who died aged 20 in the First World War. We never found his grave.”
“ I wanted people to see the events through the light of contemporary artists’ eyes, who could perhaps put things into a new perspective and bring out elements of the War that have not always been considered, or to re-examine the traditional images of the Somme. By revealing stories of local people affected by these catastrophic events and responding to the scars caused by war, different artists coming from diverse disciplines will make for a highly unusual and challenging show.”
“My personal tribute to Sydney Hurst is a small casket, which
distills all the information I managed to amass from the fragments of his short life. Photos of his own relatives and his male descendants, Peter, William, Dan and Boris who only knew him from two surviving photos. A map shows the exact location of his death, from where he was exhumed before being laid to rest in the London Cemetery, at Neuville-Vitasse and phials of blood and soil hang down to represent his death by a piece of shrapnel through the heart. It features a toy plastic heart, metal soldiers and my only piece of actual memorabilia, Sydney’s medal. References to roses echo his job maintaining the local park and his love of gardening and the coal is a good luck talisman taken to battle by many soldiers.”