Death: A Self Portrait

Death: A Self Portrait is an exhibition currently on show at the Welcome Collection in London and is from a collection of works from Richard Harris.

The exhibition has been running since November and will be closing its doors on the 24th February 2013 – I suggest going to see it; it’s free and full of skulls (not to forget loads of interesting information and history). See here for more details on Death: A Self Portrait.

The exhibition is one of the best that I have been too and contains a fantastically diverse collection of skulls, skeletons and anatomical art. The collection has been put together by Richard Harris and was inspired by anatomy in art, skulls and also death.

The collection comprises of around 1500 artworks and historical artefacts relating to death and Richard Harris started this collection in 2000 and is still collection works today. Harris has said: “As I get older the thought of my own demise has begun to enter my conscious thoughts. The universality of ‘Death,’ with the realisation that we will all die, encouraged me to begin the conversation of my mortality visually, rather than reading about it.”

You can see an interview below where he talks about the collection:

Just like Richard Harris, the exhibition also got me thinking of my own death – where will my skull be in a hundred years and what would I have done with it to not only enrich my life but also the lives of others.

All this time I have been drawn to skulls as objects for artistic expression but they are more than that. They represent our mortality, our life, past and present, and our imminent death. Initially when we started this blog posting skulls daily it was for enjoyment and to share our passion with you, but it’s more than that, it’s about celebrating life and death every day.

Calavera, Mondongo Collective

My favourite piece at the exhibition was this huge skull, Calavera from the Mondongo Collective (Argentina), plasticine on board, 2011; which is three-dimensional and and stands about 4 ft tall (rough guess). I have included the description from the Welcome Collection’s website below.

Calavera, Mondongo Collective (Argentina), plasticine on board, 2011
Argentinian collective Mondongo (the word for a traditional Argentinian tripe stew) assemble everyday things into irreverent three-dimensional collages. In this work, the economic and cultural dominance of Europe and the USA (represented by neoclassical architecture and Western literature) is seen to have radical consequences for South America (evoked by the villa miseria or shanty towns that are found close to Argentina’s largest cities). Copyright Mondongo Collective

Get on down to the Welcome Collection and explore death before it’s too late.