Memento Mori

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An art gallery is not necessarily a place you go to contemplate your mortality. Maybe it should be. In the past there existed a rigid classical hierarchy of art genres. Allegorical paintings alluding to mortality, decay and death were an accepted and recognised visual contemplative form. They were of course a lower subject matter than paintings depicting grand historical scenes. Nevertheless these memento mori were a commonplace feature in the homes of those who were admittedly wealthy enough to actually own such things as paintings in the first place. They acted as visual reminders to their owners of their own inherent mortality.

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The idea of including images of decay in your everyday surroundings has disappeared. So today you don’t expect to see fungus growing in an art gallery. The artist Lois Weinberger embraces such iconography. He has sliced varying sized and shaped fungi and fixed them to the gallery walls of the Douglas Hyde creating the feeling that these protrusions are growing through or feeding on the very fabric of the gallery itself.

 

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The small room displaying the fungi induces a disturbing and melancholic sense of quiet malaise. The building is decaying and dying – succumbing to entropy and decline. A comment perhaps on modern art spaces and their contents – that all will ultimately rot and be turned to dust.

Lois Weinberger
 – Invasion 

8th. Oct – 3rd. Dec 2014. The Douglas Hyde Gallery – http://www.douglashydegallery.com/

photos: Douglas Hyde Gallery and the artist. Installation photographs by Davey Moor.

painting: Pieter Claesz, Still life with silverware and lobster (1597/1598-1660), Museum Kunstpalast – http://www.smkp.de/

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