Front, 2012

Ink brush, white gouache 

26.1 x 36.2 inches 

"The rat came crawling over him stealthily. It came with its sharp little claws up his left leg. It was a great brown trench rat like the ones they used to throw shovels at.“

(From: "Johnny got his gun“, Kensington Publishing Corp.) 

Soldiers in World War I typically spent more time digging trenches than engaging directly in combat. These trenches were full of dirt and feces and deeply silted up, also by rains and shells. Some drowned wounded in shell funnels and swamps. Others fell ill because of the poor hygienic conditions at the front. This also allowed epidemics to break out and attracted vermin such as rats. Often soldiers had to eat spoiled meat. When war is glorified as a heroic endeavor, one tends to disregard very important aspects of the actual reality of war...where it is a matter of bare survival, everyone is their own worst enemy, and millions are traumatized.