Beautiful Tiger is the first of a series of immersive visualisations exploring the poetics of war and its memorialisation.
Disassociated in the gallery space from its functional life as a weapon of war, the Tiger tank becomes an object of aesthetic value. This disassociation is enhanced by the mirrored surfaces that strip the tank of its original material references. They refer to one of the primary textures of war remembrance: the idea of the pool of reflection.
At the same time the mirrors provide the tank with a new set of camouflage patterns: the architectural forms of the gallery itself. The work thus raises questions about how memorials to war blend histories of violence with social and historical narratives, and how they create an acceptable aesthetics of violence through poetic forms.
The tank is exhibited in a 1:1 reconstruction of the 19th century galleries at the Art Gallery of NSW, where I worked for six years and co-curated the Gallery’s First World War commemoration program.