Action Man lives, thanks to photo-technology
Friday 02 January 1998
Smith, whose work from the "Artists Rifles" series has just been bought by that patron of modern art, Charles Saatchi, portrays himself in a variety of battle poses, shooting, stabbing and dying, some of which appear somewhat camp.
"My work is intended to mock the fantasy notions we have about war and the soldier hero," he explains, in a text accompanying the photographs. "Part of its intention is to illustrate the divide between reality and the romanticised vision one has of battle."
Smith displays what he calls his "constructed fantasies" with reference to what created them - plays, comic books, paintings, documentary photographs and war films.
"Acting as every figure within this work, I have courted the military ideal where there are no individuals, just the unit, brothers in arms," he says.
Smith, who is 28, spent a number of years working as a photographer for the armed forces. His photographs, which he describes as "mainly handshakes and medal presentations", were used in two publications for the Army in Germany - Sixth Sense and Forces Echo.
Occasionally he covered big training exercises - the pictures from which gave him the inspiration for the "Army Rifles" series. These he describes as "opening up the divide between the reality and fantasy of war".
Smith says that his first idea of what a soldier should be came from his toy Action Man; and some of the paintings, which feature Action-Man- like poses - look almost humorous.
But Smith is keen to stress that he would never mock the soldiers themselves.
"I wish to extend my deepest respect to those who have died in the very real mass carnage that war, in all its forms, brings."
Jenny Blyth, curator of the Saatchi Gallery, commented: "Work by young British artists such as Paul Smith confirms that there is life after Sensation."
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cure for cancer to her scientist father
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...