Friday, March 4, 2011

Mat Collishaw Last Meal on ''Death Row'' @ The Armory Show

The photographs of Mat Collishaw from the series ''Last Meal on Death Row'' on display @ the Armory Show are pretty amazing ,  so worth looking at in person...gorgeous!
Beautiful still lifes with a real Life and Death twist.
Sold out!
Go and see them this weekend!

Mat Collishaw, Last Meal on Death Row, 2010

Mat Collishaw 'Last Meal on Death Row'

Mat Collishaw's work has always been articulated around the fundamental duality of the human body and its existence, between the poles of life and death, splendour and misery, sublime beauty and dereliction and corruption. His Suicide Suite (1993) inaugurated a series of works on the theme of death which show the artist to be compelled by this endlessly resonant 'nothing'(Jankelevitch). From the birds held in ice that featured in L'Hiver de l'amour at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1994 to Buenas Noces (2006), a series of photographs taken in a cemetery in Mexico City, then given a 'touch of the sublime' by the great masters, including Turner and Claude; from Lady Killer, an allegorical representation of the death of love, to Skull (2008), a sumptuous vanitas shown in the exhibition Et le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau (2008), Collishaw's fascination with death, life's Siamese twin, is endless.

Last Meal on Death Row is a series of still lifes representing the final meal of death-sentence prisoners in American jails. Collishaw recreated the meals, as exhaustively documented by Jacquelyn Black in the book of the same title, and photographed them in his very personal style, evoking the Flemish masters. Light is scarce in the dark illustration of this sombre theme, illuminating a few details of this last action by the living: eating before dying. To make these images even more disturbing, Collishaw names each one after the prisoner who ate the meal. The last meal is not a concept: it is what was eaten by a living man who was executed in the hour that followed. In addition to the issues they raise about the death sentence, these new works by Collishaw also evoke the artis's Christian childhood, which informs everything he does. The Last Supper, too, was of course a 'last meal.' In the end, beyond the complex emotions stirred by these works from the man they call 'The Master of Illusions,' it is once again their beauty that draws the gaze and keeps it coming back to these images of a possible perfection.
Mat CollishawCharles Frances Rumbaugh, 2010

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