No Man's Land in World War One
Contrast Spencer’s bright vision with this landscape painting by Paul Nash from World War One. Paul Nash was an official war artist in both world wars. His drawings and paintings from World War One contained an explicit and angry anti-war message, and his work in World War Two continued this didactic element but with notable differences.
The rising sun in ‘We are making a New World’ breaks into No Man’s Land on the Western Front. This is a malleable landscape, constantly reshaped and redrawn by bombardment and attacks. Consequently it is un-mappable, people are excluded, it is ownerless, dead and polluted.
In Nash’s bitter vision the sun will continue to rise each and every day to expose the desecration and to repeat judgment on the perpetrators. This new world is unwanted, unlovable but inescapable.