Britten's War Requiem Print Exhibition - Ruth Dent
In 2018, in association with the 40th Petworth Festival, Kevis House Gallery presented an exhibition by artist Ruth Dent who used colour and gesture to express her emotional response to music, literature and nature. The Festival commemorated the conclusion of the First World War and Dent's work was inspired by Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, itself a biting response to the horrors of the First World War.
Dent produced a series of 8 prints, one for each movement, with Dies Irae being split into three, as it is the largest part of the music. The prints measure 33cm x 50cm, and are printed in an edition of 10 on handmade paper from Moulin de Larroque, Couzes, France. Each is individual due to the nature of the paper and the printing process. This is important to Dent as the handmade paper represents human skill and individuality - "as every soldier was an individual, loved by their friends and family for being themselves."
"I have endeavoured to capture the spirit of the music and words, as the piece moves along its journey, always bearing in mind the cost to humanity. Britten himself used Owen's words to preface his piece -
"My subject is War, and the pity of War,
The Poetry is in the pity...
All a poet can do today is warn .""
- Ruth Dent
Dent was awarded the John Purcell Paper Prize at the National Open Print Exhibition in 2015 for Dies Irae I.