Two world wars are deeply etched in the collective memory of the people of Europe and have left a legacy of many works of amateur and folk art which are seldom seen. In Der naive Krieg (The Naive War) artist ATAK presents an impressive collection of artefacts made by unknown amateur artists and juxtaposes them with works by contemporary artists.
For many years, the artist ATAK (Professor Georg Barber) has collected trench and folk art as expressions of a specific memory culture. A collection in which miniatures of vehicles, ships and aircraft – whether once children’s toys, personal mementoes or strategic objects – sit alongside artefacts made of the detritus of war, personalized battlefield postcards, portraits of soldiers, sketches and images of battles.
They all demonstrate that creativity and artistic expression, once triggered by war, could serve quite different aims: coming to terms with war, downplaying or glorifying warfare, propaganda. They also show that inner images keenly sought form and expression. In this unusual book, the “naive art” of these amateurs is directly confronted with works by Heino Jaeger, Josef Wittlich, Moritz Götze and ATAK, establishing a distinction between them and creating a link with the present day.