Each figure approx. 12” x 55” x 21 ½”
Laura Ford’s Armour Boys consists of five child-sized suits of crushed armor that are scattered on the forest floor. Each maintains slightly unique characteristics, such as a plume or a spur, and all possess distorted, almost mangled poses, complete with helmets that hide the figures’ faces. The sculptures are cast in bronze with a dark patina. The physical heaviness of the bronze knights, which appear to be sunken into the earth, also suggests their emotional weight.
Throughout her work, Ford explores the world of childhood as a way to shed light on the complexity of adulthood. With Armour Boys, Ford casts children in what is traditionally heroic, if not mythic, battle attire to question stereotypes of masculine power, along with its damaging effects. The piece references child soldiers and the practice of sending men and women, in the prime of their youth, to fight and potentially die in battle. Ford specifically cites a film depicting the death of a Palestinian child as inspiration for Armour Boys and is sensitive to the fact that children are all-too-often the unfortunate casualties of war.
By creating an installation in which viewers may enter and wander around this mysterious, anachronistic, battleground, Ford transforms innocent observers into salient components of the work and makes them part of her investigation into the physical and emotional violation of children. Ultimately, Armour Boys is a dark social commentary about the burden of war upon both individuals and collective society.
Laura Ford was born in Cardiff, Wales and studied art at Bath Academy of Art before receiving her MA in Sculpture from the Chelsea School of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Camden Arts Center in London, Arnolfini in Bristol, UK, and the Centre of Contemporary Art in Salamanca, Spain. Her work was chosen to represent Wales in the 2005 Venice Biennial and was included in the Miami Art Museum exhibition, Figuratively Speaking. Ford lives and works in London.