Since the late 1960s, Peter Kennard (born 1949) has made powerfully political work that is a visual manifestation of resistance against economic inequality, war, climate change and injustices, both local and global. Initially trained as a painter and fuelled by his activism against the Vietnam War, Kennard turned to photomontage in the 1970s and the legacy of John Heartfield to deconstruct the imagery and language of the mass media in order to break-up the monopoly they persistently hold on 'truth'. Internationally renowned for the photomontages he constructed in support of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) across the 70s and 80s, Kennard has produced iconic images for left publications and social protests that are firmly lodged in the collective consciousness and still potent and as powerful today. A prime example is his détournement of John Constable's The Hay Wain, which he reworked as Haywain with Cruise Missiles (1980), in support of the women who were occupying Greenham Common. Embracing a fierce materiality, Kennard often incorporates recalcitrant materials into his work, partly as a response to the dominance of screen-based imagery in our lives and then also the smooth image world produced by advertising. His work asserts those messages and meanings barred from official politics and the discourse of its actors and elites and is always positioned as a force for social change.Read More
Peter Kennard studied at Byam Shaw, the Slade, and the Royal College of Art where he is currently Professor of Political Art in its School of Arts and Humanities. He has exhibited across the world, including solo exhibitions at Imperial War Museum, London, UK; Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, UK; United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland and Gallery Fifty 24MX, Mexico City, Mexico. He has participated in group exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, London, UK; Tate Modern, London, UK; Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands and Gallerie Vallois, Paris, France.
Text courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery.