Back to the Front

This fabulous Artist’s book, 'Back to the Front' by Helen Malone, was recently acquired by the State Library of Queensland, and it provides a unique & contemporary pallet with which to reflect on those who served and died in the First World War.

It takes the form of a panoramic concertina of digitally manipulated photographs, with added white charcoal drawing. The cover boards are onlaid with leather and white foil tooling.

Helen has used her own contemporary photographs of some of the battlefields in France and Belgium, where Australian troops fought, and which have been transformed digitally into the "dark brown muddy unreal and deathly landscapes of WWI France”.

When you first open the book it is hard to know where to get the best view … it spans over 4 metres in length … I felt it was best displayed by loosely opening the panorama to about 1 metre, where you can view every page in sequence … but it also looks stunning displayed in a circular manner, where the outer covers can also be viewed.

Whichever way you choose to view this artist book, 'Back to the Front' is a stunning piece of work. You are transported back in time to the deathly landscapes of WW1 France. White charcoal crosses symbolise those who died in the horrific reality of the battles of the Western Front, and are a focus for reflection for the lives lost.

The item can be viewed, upon request, from the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane.

Back to the Front, by Helen Malone, 2014

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland

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