“All animals take action to avoid their own death. Humans share this instinct to survive with all animals, yet humans are the only animals to understand the inevitability of death and that we cannot escape it. Human beings can also imagine a world where they are no longer alive.”
– Nigel Spivey
Death is recognised as a universal human experience that effects everyone regardless of race, gender or class. It is a reminder that our time on this planet is only fleeting and is an inevitable event that we cannot escape. Its representation in art also tells alot about the culture and beliefs of the society that the work was made in. Despite a breakdown of traditional religious notions in contemporary western society there still persists a desire to visualise the end. In this piece I am interested in exploring the concept of death as it becomes a way in which I can confront the understanding of my own mortality.
Memento Mori was produced using digital photography as its primary medium, a processes that lends itself easily to the creation of manipulated images. The aspect of death I am exploring in this body of work is an intangible concept, a questioning of what happens at the point of transition, rather than a recording of the physical process of dyeing. I have departed from using photography as a tool with any hold on truth and un-biased representation.
The images are overlayed and collaged together in order to explore death with a photomontage aesthetic. This process uses manipulated photography to create constructed environments, taking elements from religious traditions, taxidermy, illustrations and photographs of the natural environment to create new meaning from their composition and arrangement around a central portraiture figure. The photomontage aesthetic in my work allows for fragmented representations that reference many religious systems depicting death and the afterlife.