Platform for Art presents an exhibition of new works especially created for Piccadilly Circus station by Beth Derbyshire. Entitled Careless Talk Costs Lives, the works feature hybrid versions of military medal designs fused into decorative backgrounds which are composed of patterns based on the flora associated with war and remembrance. Embedded within these images are slogans lifted from Second World War propaganda posters , including the famed ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ campaign. The colouration of the series is inspired by military camouflage designs. In the busy London of today, the strong imagery serves as a thoughtful reminder of the Second World War, evoking memories of the collective unity of Londoners, and the Underground as a place of shelter during air raids.
Presented in a busy Underground station, this exhibition reveals the power and influence of slogans and pictures in communication today. The language and imagery of both contemporary advertising and political and military messages share a common power and purpose. They produce propaganda which reduces ideas and beliefs to powerful, memorable and influential shorthand that affects both our individual and collective consciousness.
Beth Derbyshire’s work is inspired by communication and language systems, examining notions of collective identity, individuality and citizenship. She often works in collaboration with individuals or groups of people, which forms a crucial aspect of the finished work. Her work ‘Message’, presented on Remembrance Sunday 2006, was a major public performance devised with ex-Royal Navy servicemen, veterans of many different conflicts, which sent a message by semaphore from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to the Cenotaph at Whitehall. Careless Talk Costs Lives incorporates the essence of this Message project.