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Stacks: a partial documentation of what I leave behind.
thesisposted on 16.02.2017, 03:57 authored by Biviano, Fabrizio
The vanitas genre is as significant to current audiences as it was to those of the 1ih century. The reality of being human affirms this. Death and dying is unavoidable. This has meant that the genre (in varying degrees) has been popular with artist for centuries and will most probably continue to be well into the future. With consideration to the long history of the vanitas and its continued engagement by contemporary western artists, we might assume that many of its traditional conventions and motifs have been rendered impotent-through repeated viewing-in the minds of accustomed audiences. (This is arguably the case for me and my subdued response to the key inherent messages prompted by vanitas artworks). Further effects of this familiarity of the genre to contemporary audiences is that any artists whose primary intention is to engage with its core concerns of the vanitas may appear trivial, cliched, or look to be making artworks about artworks rather than artworks driven by the core ideas of the genre.1 This line of thinking brings to the fore a question for any artist who hopes to engage with any well-established genre: is it possible to contribute to a genre with a long history in a meaningful way whilst avoiding its entrenched visual conventions? To be more specific, in relation to this project, how would one go about making contemporary vanitas pictures that will enable current audiences to reflect on their own use of time?