Death: A Self-Portrait at the Wellcome Collection
Death: A Self-Portrait has just opened at the Wellcome Collection but already promises to be a big success. Upon arrival at the gallery, a twenty-minute queue proves that such a difficult topic to deal with is never out of fashion.
Drawing from a continuously expanding collection belonging to Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer, the exhibition displays some three hundred artefacts ranging from paintings to mannequins. The works approach the subject of death in a non-linear but thematic route divided into five main areas.
The aim of the exhibition is to make its public reflect upon one’s own mortality and perhaps give a few clues on how to cope with an issue that is usually disturbing. Death: A Self-portrait proposes to show how artists and common people alike broach death in all its aspects: there are lots of skulls, which only recently became an endemic pattern possibly losing its original symbolic meaning; there are totems, whose intention is to exorcise death and envisage a rebirth; and there are books accounting for death as an inevitable and well-deserved toll.
There are many objects that mock death too, of the most satiric kind, such as metamorphic postcards or photographs of students immortalized during dissection practices (isn’t it ironic?).
Through the ages and through different cultures, death has always fascinated man and this exhibition is here to remind us, just in case we forgot about it.
Death: A Self-portrait will be open until February 24th, 2013 for all incurably curious to freely browse and take inspiration from for their own personal way of making peace with the ultimate monster.
Death: A Self-Portrait is at the Wellcome Collection until 24th February 2013. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.