MEMENTO MORI

Un punto vidi che raggiava lume
acuto sì, che 'l viso ch'elli affoca
chiuder conviensi per lo forte acume.

I saw a point that sent forth so acute a light, that anyone who faced the force with which it blazed would have to shut his eyes.

Full view
Making the flies from a leaf frame
Finding the right relief
Relief preparation
Gold foils application
Experimenting with glazing colours
Finding the natural flow
Placing the flies
Detail
Job done

Death, afterlife. These are hardly the go-to topic of conversation with your friends. But ironically, death is thrust in our faces almost every day – we hear about it on the news or in the movies. So why are we so at pains to ignore it? 

This artwork is inspired by a verse of Dante's Divine Comedy (Paradise 28.16-18). The black flies, symbol of death in Japanese culture, are made of leaf skeletons and represent the souls of the departed attracted by the Light. The gold background is a tribute to Rinpa school master Tawaraya Sōtatsu.

Specs: gold foil, leaf skeleton, glazing colours and washi paper.

Size: cm 84x59

Relief preparation