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Conference Papers
Publications : Chapters in Books

Paul Gough
'‘Filling the Void’: artistic interpretations of the empty battlefield’'

in Raelene Frances and Bruce Scates (eds.), Beyond Gallipoli: New Perspectives on ANZAC (Australian History Publication, Monash University Publishing, 2016) ISBN 978-1-925495-10-2


This paper has three parts: the first offers a critique of the idea of ‘emptiness’ and its application to the apparently deserted battlescapes of the First World War. The second part explores how this concept of emptiness was understood and applied by artists who witnessed the action, or the aftermath, of campaigns in Gallipoli, France and Belgium.

To do so it focuses on the war diaries, sketches and post-battle paintings by Australian artist and Australian Imperial Force (AIF) signaller Ellis Silas, and also recounts the challenges faced by official war photographer Frank Hurley during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. Part Three reflects on more recent work by the Australian painter Sidney Nolan who for two decades later in the twentieth century was deeply engaged with the powerful memoryscapes of Turkey.