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Sketching Death in Art

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Sketching Death in Art

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  1. Sketching Death in Art

  2. Bodies, Dying, Death • The art of the past reminded people of the coming end like: • Grim reaper (dried-out skeleton) • Danses macabre (memento mori) • Baroque Vanitas (beautiful bodies)

  3. Chosen Subject • The theme of death as the place, where the confrontation of science and art is more reflective than anywhere else

  4. Social Background • Death has to be an integrated part of individual and social life in our society • Death now is clean and has been removed from our life to hospitals and nursing homes

  5. Leitmotive • An uncomfortable subject for a great number of people, much lied about. Even in our language we often refer to people having “passed away” or “departed” – rather than died.

  6. First Impressions • In 1987 Hans Bankl M.D. professor of anatomic pathology invited to sketch bodies

  7. Department of Pathology St. Poelten

  8. Challenge • The principal concern – through the art – is to imbue the public • To make the zone of death visible

  9. 1987 - 1992 • A lot of pictures arise to a cycle called „Body without Soul“

  10. Area of Investigations • The autopsy room as an artist´s space is standing in a long tradition which started in the 2nd half of the 11th century.

  11. The confrontation with death as the center of artistic remarks

  12. Working in the Autopsy room

  13. The Dead Body • Death seems to have become more far. Now we study discease and no longer death • Death is regarded as a phenomenon that is not very well understood. The cadaver is still the body and already the corpse

  14. Sitting close to the body to record the last examination and the act of autopsy

  15. Confrontation instead of Disgust

  16. It is hard to find a more realistic of death than in an autopsy room

  17. There is no taboo in the art, death must be accepted

  18. Shock is not the Focus with Blood in the Limelight

  19. Problems of Sketching Death in Art • The artistic work is fraught with difficulties: to show something that does not exist anymore - life.

  20. Eyewitness • An artist has to show something missing, a loss, a deficit

  21. Analytical Confrontation • Death is one of the taboos of our society, as is sex • Death....when it is documented, seems abstract, unreal

  22. Body without Soul • Over the last 12 years men, women and children have been portrayed in the cycle “Body without Soul“ before the coffin finally closes

  23. Everyone dies his own Death • The individuality is in the flesh, the exact unexchangable condition of everyone. • Only a dead person itself is a dead person

  24. The Dying of the Others • Nowbody learns about his own death, but everybody can learn about death of the others. • Death is the climax of life. With death everything is gone and nothing

  25. Temporal Life • The temporal life, always a usual life, individual, unique, irreplaceable is a final life. • It ends with death, nothing more and nothing less

  26. Death has many faces

  27. Age of Life • There is a difference of life but not of the end, of the destruction • Dying is a natural accident

  28. The younger the dead person is, the more death will touch the living one

  29. Art and Death • One of the biggest confrontations is the studying of the human body. There is a vast difference between a living and a lifeless body, the latter is missing something - the elan vital

  30. The last Print • To record the last attempt of human individuality before the onset of final decay • to make a last print before the body will be cremated or decomposes

  31. The Taboo of Death • There is a need to avoid any confrontation because people are afraid of death • The collective repression of death has a far reaching consequence (quality of life)

  32. The Color of Death • The fable world of the interior of the body • The brilleance of the color • The landscape of organs • The point of view of the art

  33. New York The Mount Sinai Medical Center Mount Sinai School of Medicine

  34. 1992 - 1993 • Alan L. Schiller M.D. professor and chairman of Pathology gives his permission to paint various aspects of autopsy pathology

  35. Alan L. Schiller M.D.

  36. Mount Sinai Morgue • Creating a large painting (triptychon) to grace the entrance of the autopsy suite of the Hans Popper Department of the Atran Laboratory