Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The transience and fragility of life are laid bare to telling effect in Anthony d'Offay's Artists Rooms in Edinburgh

from the article,

What else is Hirst's lamb embalmed in formaldehyde but a fantasy of eternal life, or at least eternal preservation? Hirst's medicine cabinets filled with drugs that wake us up and put us to sleep, elevate our moods and alleviate our pain are like altarpieces for the modern man, whose belief in God's help has been replaced by a more practical trust in medicine and doctoring.

Or what about the wonderful Vija Celmins, whose meticulous drawings of spiderwebs and night skies are suffused with exaltation and amazement at the world around us? The poetry of Katz and Celmins pierces your heart, makes you hold your breath. Like that of Eva Hesse, theirs is a pre-Prozac world, a world that isn't about feeling good, but about feeling at all, where even broken and imperfect things are valued because they are real, and the beauty of life is inseparable from its transience.

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