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Powerful reactions: artist's response to global conflict at Imperial War Museum North

  • Date: 19 January 2011
  • Area: North
Dramatic white scultpture hung before a black background. Scultpture depicts fragmented houses and looks spiky and as if it is mid-explosion.

The Crusader, Gerry Judah. Credit: David Barbour

A major new sculpture created in direct response to contemporary global conflict is being shown at the Imperial War Museum North as part of an ongoing artists' intervention programme.

Gerry Judah's The Crusader reflects on modern day war but also resonates with the history of world conflict, showing how war has and continues to shape lives.

The striking, snow white sculpture, which comprises a seven-metre three dimensional structure covered with a web of war-torn buildings, is the first exhibit visitors see on entering the Museum's main exhibition space and opened to coincide with Remembrance Day, November 2010.

The Crusader is the second piece in the Imperial War Museum North's Reactions programme, which is supported by a National Lottery funded Grants for the arts award from Arts Council England and works with artists who create new work in response to the museum's displays, themes and architecture, encouraging visitors to question, critique and respond during their visit.

Renowned contemporary artist Gerry Judah's work has been exhibited at galleries worldwide including, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and has entered many international public and private collections. The Crusader is the culmination of five years of engagement with conflict in which Judah has created a series of three-dimensional paintings of war damaged cities, inspired by recent global events. It is the first and only sculpture in this body of work, which was initially conceived when Judah produced the acclaimed Auschwitz-Birkenau model for the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London in 2000.

Jim Forrester, Imperial War Museum North Director, said: 'Gerry Judah's work is always powerful and this dramatic sculpture offers a thought-provoking perspective on conflict, highlighting how war shapes lives.'

Helen Wewiora, Relationship Manager, Visual Arts, Arts Council England added: 'The Reactions programme seeks to engage audiences in new ways, taking as their starting point the highly impactful work and setting of the Imperial War Museum North, and Gerry Judah's new artwork is a fascinating piece which aims to invoke a strong response from visitors to the museum.'

The multi-award winning Imperial War Museum North tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. It is the fifth branch of the Imperial War Museum and the first outside the South East of England. The Museum was named as one of the top Large Visitor Attractions in the country at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2010 and one of the top 10 buildings of the last century by the Rough Guide to England in 2008.

The Crusader will be shown at the Imperial War Museum North until November 2011. For more details visit: www.iwm.org.uk