Rosie Snell’s disquieting landscapes bear the inscriptions of war. A piece of real estate the spoils. Military machinery and installations camouflaged, hidden in the tangled foliage.
In these visions of post-nuclear pastoral, military objects have become monoliths, imbued with a quiet calm. Each machine static but at the same time predatory in its environment, the lack of human presence giving them an unnerving autonomy. Their camouflage appropriates the aesthetics of their surroundings, but can also be read as a language of anxiety and falsehoods.
Increasingly, new concepts and capabilities associated with our information age seem to offer a new type of warfare, a post-heroic warfare without bloodshed. But the fact of war is often a long way from our emotional or intellectual response to it. And however appealing modern theories of ‘Clean Warfare’(1) are, Clausewitz’s stark warning still seems disturbingly current; “The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.”(2)
Snell’s works are not those of a war artist, presenting a social documentation or conveying a particular political point of view. They encompass both the past and the future, examining concealment, disinformation and the physical and psychological impact war has had and continues to exert upon our environment.
(1) Jean Baudrillard, ‘The Gulf War did not take place’.
(2) Carl von Clausewitz, ‘On War’.