Dear Shaded Viewers,
It has taken me a while to get around to reading this book as the topic is not the easiest to digest and sometimes one does not want or need to be reminded that it is the inevitable. The third edition of Death Book collects contemporary depictions of death, in the form of drawings, illustrations and paintings. Some of the artists you will be familiar with and many not at all.
“Before photography was invented, we relied on illustrations, paintings and, even more so, real dead bodies to gaze upon decaying flesh. Many visual expressions of death were used to moralize or romanticise death. Vanitas paintings were made to remind us that life is only temporary and all mortal possessions remain in vain. The Japanese Kusôzu tradition of watercolour paintings, that depict the nine stages of the decaying body, from the first moment of death unto the final stages, were made to remind us not to give into bodily desires. Romantic war paintings asked the viewer to fight for the cause.
For the third edition of DEATH BOOK, you will find various signs and symbols related to death, such as skulls, violence, accidents, spirits, cadavers, sexual acts and references to religion and Christ. The works included remind us of our living status, in ways that are sometimes funny, arousing or DEAD serious.
A true representation of death, and its associated pain is impossible, but the works included attempt to communicate the agony, the anguish, the grave sadness and, sometimes, the humour associated with death.
DEATH BOOK lll is art directed by PZtoday, who has designed the book as a Bible/Address book. With an introduction by Pernilla Ellens and Lauren Raaijmakers and featuring drawings, paintings and illustrations from Alicia Gibson, Christina Quarles, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellen Cantor, Franko B, Hermann Nitsch, Ion Birch, Keith Boadwee, Lin Ke, Mike Diana, Namio Harukawa, Oliver Eales, Patrick Wray, PZtoday, Qiu Xiaofei, Richard Hawkins, Sutapa Biswas, Toshio Saeki, Urs Lüthi, Vittorio Scarpati, Will Henry, Julien Ceccaldi and many more.” – Baron