Saturday, 1 December 2012

Death: A Self-Portrait

A friend took me along to see this exhibition at the Welcome Collection today. Quite strange actually, I've been thinking a lot about death lately (as you do!) and to see this exhibition really brought home some of the ideas that have crossed my mind, from the transience of life and the certainty of death and to social attitudes towards mortality. I found Room 3 on 'Violent Death' to be particularly disconcerting. I studied Goya's work quite closely whilst undertaking the course Art, War and Terror at Goldsmiths and found his work to be horrifying but enthralling at the same time. Anyway I'd really recommend a visit. The exhibition is on till the end of February. I've included some info from the website and a trailer of the exhibition below.

Our major winter exhibition showcases some 300 works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including art works, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. Rare prints by Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya will be displayed alongside anatomical drawings, war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains will be juxtaposed with Renaissance vanitas paintings and twentieth century installations celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. From a group of ancient Incan skulls, to a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey, this singular collection, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, opens a window upon our enduring desire to make peace with death.