Art Meets Death In This Macabre Exhibition

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 59 months ago
Art Meets Death In This Macabre Exhibition
Jake & Dinos Chapman : 'Migraine', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Jake & Dinos Chapman : 'Migraine', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Dr.Viktor Schroeder : 'Memento Mori with 17th Century human skull', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Dr.Viktor Schroeder : 'Memento Mori with 17th Century human skull', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Marcos Raya : 'Little brother', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Marcos Raya : 'Little brother', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Nancy Fouts : 'Hang on', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Nancy Fouts : 'Hang on', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Jim Skull : 'Soir De paris', 2009. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Jim Skull : 'Soir De paris', 2009. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Paul Stephenson : 'No Lady', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.
Paul Stephenson : 'No Lady', 2013. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, London.

Last year we were blown away by the creepy Victorian-style trappings of the Museum of Curiosity. The curatorial team behind it are back to take an equally macabre look at death in their new show Memento Mori, with artworks that remind us that death is inevitable, yet which also contain a streak of dark humour.

Many artists from the previous exhibition make a return with new works. The ever popular Nancy Fouts has several pieces on display, our favourite is a taxidermied bird lying on its back in a cracked and splintered bell jar — as if it died trying to escape.

Marcos Raya offers another standout with his signature style of skeletonising classical portraits, so smiling skulls replace heads in a wedding portrait and a child at play looks particularly disturbing. A subtler but equally perturbing piece by AVM is completely edible including a replica of a skull.

It's also no surprise to see the Chapman brothers here with a gory work that features miniature bloodied bodies trying to crawl out of the mouth and eye sockets of a human skull. It's typical of their over the top style but fits in seamlessly with the theme of this exhibition.

But it's not just contemporary objects on display, and a set of vitrines by Dr Viktor Schroeder contain genuine human skulls. There is also a claimed Saint's hand from centuries ago when such relics were in high demand.

Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between this exhibition and the excellent Death at the Wellcome Collection, and anyone who enjoyed that show will definitely find Memento Mori fascinating. It's perhaps not quite as brilliant as the Museum of Curiosity but is stuffed with great works to be enjoyed by those who can stomach it.

Memento Mori is on at Pertwee, Anderson & Gold, 15 Bateman St, London, W1D 3AQ until 14 June. Admission is free.

Last Updated 20 May 2013

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Looking forward to attending 0: )