By Andy Coles
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The Sensory War: Powerful exhibition showing there’s no glory in war

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Issue 2428

This exhibition depicts the horrific and brutal history of warfare during the last 100 years.

It is boldly honest about the reality of the litany of conflicts that have plagued the world since 1914. 

We see the increasing power of weaponry as it evolved—from guns to bombs, missiles, drones and poisonous gases to nuclear weapons.

The effect of these weapons was and is devastating. It’s not just the number of deaths, but also the horrific aftermath for the survivors—both physical and mental. 

What’s absent from this display is any mention of the Russian and German revolutions that ended the First World War. 

Workers revolted and troops left the trenches in mass mutinies, refusing to fight in the fear, squalor and bloodshed. 

Many of the works belong to the gallery’s own extensive collection.

The Sensory War is a crucial reminder of what the ruling class is capable of and its attempt to glorify past wars. 

It’s the working class that always bears the brunt in war

This exhibition is part of a much needed truth-telling regarding warfare and should be seen by all. 

What an appalling suggestion that we celebrate the First World War with street parties. 

But be prepared, I left the gallery emotionally bruised and furious. 

There is no glory in war.

The Sensory War 1914-2014. Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester M3 4PR. Until 22 February 2015. Free



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