Totally Thames and 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions invite you on board the newly ‘dazzled’ HMS President (1918) to find out more about London’s outdoor art installation.

TALK 1: The Art of Dazzle Painting with Robert Hewison
2.30pm – 3.30pm
Cultural historian Robert Hewison explores the history of World War I naval camouflage, and its connection to avant-garde art.

TALK 2: Dazzle ships London & Liverpool
4pm – 5pm
Professor Chris Wainwright, artist, curator, Head of Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon colleges of the arts and Project Manager of ‘Dazzle Ship London’ and Janet Dugdale, Director of Museum of Liverpool and Interim Director of Merseyside Maritime Museum at National Museums Liverpool will discuss how contemporary artists address and interpret the style and concept of Dazzle in the 21st century, the process of dazzling HMS President (1918) and the Edmund Gardner in Liverpool by Carlos Cruz-Diez and the public reaction to the works.  


Dazzle Ship London, a film by David Kew

Dazzle Ship London - trailer

World Premiere
6.30pm – 7pm
Director: David Kew, Production: Q Films, Music: James Hesford, Run time: 26 minutes
David Kew’s beautifully shot film draws on the recollections and memories of descendants of the original dazzle artists, historians, the current occupants of the ship and the direct response to the art-work by members of the public. Supported by the Goethe–Institut London.

Dazzle Ship London by Tobias Rehberger

About the installation

German artist Tobias Rehberger has created a contemporary dazzle design for HMS President (1918) as part of 14-18 NOW. This temporary art work takes as its inspiration a style of optical distortion used extensively during the First World War called ‘dazzle painting’.

Devised by British artist Norman Wilkinson and supervised by vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth, the camouflage technique incorporated bold shapes and strong contrasts, with an aim to confuse rather than conceal.

The HMS President (1918) is one of three surviving WW1 warships. It was ‘dazzled’ on its launch in 1918, under its original name, HMS Saxifrage.

Throughout September – the best views of the work are from the south bank or Blackfriars Bridge.

The ‘dazzle’ technique has been a recurring theme in Tobias Rehberger’s work. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden Lion Award at the 53rd International Venice Biennale for a café he created that was based entirely on the principle of dazzle pattern.

The best views of the work are from the South Bank or Blackfriars Bridge

14-18 NOW

14-18 NOW is a major cultural programme taking place across the UK to mark the centenary of the First World War – inviting contemporary artists from the UK and around the world to explore the resonance of the First World War today.