In front of the Falaise Memorial is a work of art as powerful as it is original, which stands out from the usual exhibitions of military equipment in Normandy.

War is Hell: a universal tribute

Created and inaugurated on May 8, 2019, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, “War is hell” is a unique work of art in France, created by Jef Aérosol, an internationally renowned French stencil artist, precursor of the street art.
By affixing dozens of faces of men, women and children to a real Sherman tank, Jef Aérosol wanted to break the codes and recall this paradox which means that to celebrate Peace we must talk about War. Two notions that seem intimately linked, like the contrasts of black and white used by the artist to create his portraits.
A true graphic plea against the violence and absurdity of all wars. “War is Hell” is a universal tribute to those, civilians and soldiers, who have been crushed by contemporary conflicts, but also an essential reminder to generations who have been lucky enough not to be their victims.

A restored Sherman M4A1 tank

Reconstructed from parts of different tanks, riddled with bullet holes and gutted by a mine, the story of this Sherman tank that became a training target remains unknown. Only the chassis, type M4A1 (built in 1942 and 1943) marked with the emblem of General Leclerc's 2nd DB (appeared during the restoration) could suggest a hypothetical participation in the battles of the Second World War. It nevertheless remains the emblematic military vehicle of this period and of the allied forces. A true heritage object, its integrity has been respected at all stages of the project.
Restored by the agents of the technical services of the City of Falaise, it was cleaned, prepared to accommodate the work of the artist and to be exposed to the public in complete safety (closing of the openings, sanding of the protruding metal excrescences, etc.). This restoration work was carried out after the study of a specialist, respecting these scars with strong symbolism, without irreversible interventions, and in accordance with the artist's desire to preserve the texture of the rusty metal.
This metal work was then completed by the application of a layer of protective varnish.

The intervention of Jef Aerosol

It took place between May 2 and May 7, 2019, in public, in front of the Falaise Memorial, its final reception site. Taken from archive images, the portraits were reworked by Jef Aérosol in the studio and transposed in the form of stencils. Each face required the production of at least two stencils: one for black and one for white.
In addition, the word "Peace" translated into multiple languages ​​and colors has been "stenciled" along with butterflies, symbols of freedom, and the emblematic red arrows, Jef Aérosol's trademark.

“War is Hell” has thus become one of the emblematic works of Falaise and a real curiosity for all visitors.