Laura Ford - Armour Boys
This article is from 2006.
Laura Ford’s bronze cast, armour clad little boys deal with the melancholic, painfully pertinent subject of children in war. The works also draw on Scottish heritage, based on the grandiose armoury displays at Fyvie Castle which Ford saw during a Scottish Sculpture Workshop residency in Aberdeenshire in 2004. The tried and tested means of displaying armour, standing upright, invoking invincible, forceful heroes are subverted; Ford’s five bronze cast Armour Boys are fragile children, felled down and destroyed.
These carefully crafted and subtly painted children lie scattered around the room like forgotten old toys, their limbs twisted and distorted. Their slumped helmeted heads and lifeless metal clad limbs give a feeling of weight and claustrophobia, as if the armour is too heavy to bear, like the burden of war itself. But more than this, the notion of the attacker/enemy suddenly becomes embarrassingly human, too fragile to be a figure of fear. Ford says, ‘Armour Boys are not only about our tendency to violence but also our sense of invulnerability which is instantly and shockingly reversed in the presence of death.’
While the links with armoury heritage make the works familiar and accessible, the important themes beneath the surface may well be harder to digest. Screenings, workshops, talks and events run by the Royal Scottish Academy relating to both armoury and children at war will accompany the exhibition, highlighting the links Armour Boys creates between local and international events. Colin Greenslade, RSA exhibitions coordinator calls this, ‘an experience we can relate to that has wider relevance than our own history, community and country.’ (Rosie Lesso)
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, until 10 Sep