Paddy Hartley, an artist best known for creating wearable sculpture for Lady Gaga and remembrance poppies made from lambs’ heart tissue, has come to the North West in a bid for northerners to personally share their WW1 historical stories with the artist himself.
London based and internationally acclaimed, Paddy Hartley has taken place at the Lowry until May 14th to make WW1 archaeology artefacts based on some of the stories people share with him.
The unfired artefacts are placed by Paddy into a trench of slurried clay in the middle of the gallery where his created items will be returned to the trench to disintegrate for the symbolism of passing of memory.
Interview with Paddy Hartley on his artwork!
What made you decide to make poppies out of lambs’ heart tissue?
“Because of the sacrificial symbolism of the lamb. The important thing about poppy work is that I didn’t want it to be specific towards any nationality, it’s not about numbers of death it’s not about a particular religious group, it’s about death and remembrance, and this idea that memory, it passes…I wanted to use material that would cross a lot of those different areas.”
Here’s a video of how a poppy made from Lambs heart tissue and horse hair is made:
Do you ever have people come in, like vegans or vegetarians, that are offended by your poppy display?
“Yes I do, it always happens, but it’s material that’s readily available, I would never advocate the killing of an animal specifically just for an artwork, I can’t even watch any film that has any animal cruelty”
What made you so fascinated by WW1?
“I was part of a project that got me access to observe facial surgeries at Kings Hospital. I remember going into theatre, it was such a weird and surreal environment with a couple of students and a patient laying down with his face off. You could see all the muscles and you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing. They asked me to document the surgeries of the next couple of days. It amazed me how you can take a person’s face apart and put it back together again. It reminded me of a film I saw a few years earlier, in black and white, a First World War film about tin facial prosthetics for French servicemen who fought in the war. I then had a meeting with a man that told me all about Gilles, and that changed everything. I found out about the work that Gilles did during the First World War about repairing the facial injuries of servicemen who were, for the first time, surviving more and more horrific injuries. Gilles took it upon himself to set up the first plastic surgery unit, and made up the surgical techniques he used due to the injuries he was presented with. It was then that I took it upon myself to take ten servicemen and their medical history from across the commonwealth to try and look at different surgeries and the ranges of success, or not, of some of the surgeries. Every project after that has kind of rolled onto the next and so the uniform work evolved into the crossword puzzle that’s working specifically with the story of one of the servicemen Gilles treated.”
If you want to meet Paddy and see his artwork displayed and the meaningful messages behind it, then pop down to The Lowry in Media City for the following dates:
Saturday 1st April – Wed 5th April
Tuesday 11th April – Sat 15th April
Friday 21st April – Wed 26th April
Thursday 4th May – Tue 9th May
For Paddy’s Facebook page click here.
Contact Paddy here.