Alex Liros:  The War Album

February 19 - March 2, 2003

Reception: Thurs. Feb.20, 7-10 pm

Cell Gallery at Gallery 1313

1313a Queen St.W.   Toronto

hrs: Wed. - Sun. 1-6 pm

This show of photomontages is based on photographic images in books on Greece and Italy, in particular the Italian campaign against Albania and Greece in the winter of 1940-41, and the Greek resistance to that campaign.   It is part of a long-term project exploring my family history, and in this case my erroneous idea that one of my uncles fought in the Greek army in World War II (I misinterpreted a photo in my mother's family album).   However, once I saw the war images of the Albanian campaign, I was hooked.  Although the photographs in the books have a familiar World War II look (eg. the British-style Greek helmets, the German-style Italian helmets), on closer inspection, the they look slightly strange: the haunting images of Greek soldiers advancing in the mountains with blankets over their heads for protection and later the anxious faces of the defeated men; the weird and threatening Italian military vehicles, the cavalry units, and the curious bearded Alpine soldiers.  My eyes are more accustomed to the images of the Allied and German troops as portrayed in the western media.  

The real horror and terrible cold of the Albanian campaign is not represented by my sources, but is evident in the menacing machinery of war and stress and strain in the men's faces.   To understand the brutality and insanity of the war read Louis de Bernierers' book Captain Corelli's Mandolin ("..this ungrateful leathal cold, these trails of entrails, these shattered bones..").

The photomontages I assemble is an exercise in low technology.  The work is a mix of photographic images on acetate, paper coloured with Chinese dyes (a gift from my partner's daughter who visited China), and mixed media (watercolour, ink, tape) on paper.  Sizes are about 8"x10" or smaller.

contacts: Gallery 1313:   416-536-6778

Alex Liros:   416-463-3550

War Album