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On Exhibit

Explorations of Death and the Apocalypse

Written by . Published on January 23rd 2012.

On Exhibit

THE Mayan prediction for 2012 may not have sparked fear, but it has created unquestionable intrigue and a reevaluation of our thoughts towards life and death. Literary geniuses such as Shakespeare, John Donne, Tennyson and Marlowe, were fascinated by death and society's reaction towards it: how can something such a natural part of life feel so completely alien? Death is the one thing we all have in common, but the one time when we will be most alone.The one, dependable component of human existence and yet the the one we never expect.

The following exhibitions respond to these ideas and uncover the more accepting and embracing outlook that is emerging in light of 2012.

 Death: Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living
The Southbank Centre has designed a festival that celebrates not living in the moment, but the moments in which we cease to live. The unusual event aims to defy taboos and face the unknown with full throttle. The festival examines concepts of death from every possible angle and the term ‘ignorance is bliss’ goes completely out the window.

Live music, workshops, literature, readings and a whole host of installations will be used to unveil common attitudes towards death before attempting to change how we feel towards the inevitable. Expect talks from people from all walks of life, from philosophers to funeral workers, and even an uplifting puppet show dedicated to the last days of a beloved guinea pig.

A vibrant selection of bespoke coffins from Ghana will be showcased, adding a dash of colour to a typically dark subhject. The exhibition is as lively as it is serious; a real reminder that it is death that makes life so valuable.

“There is much about our common humanity that we acknowledge, share and celebrate, so why are we so reluctant to face up to the very thing that, in the end, unites us all? In the way that a fitting memorial can be revelatory, or the presence of humour in a well-observed wake can lighten the load, we hope that our new festival can begin to allow some light onto a subject too often consigned to the shadows.” – Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre


Death: Southbank Centre’s Festival for the living
The Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

London SE1 8XX

27 Jan – 29 Jan

Immortalnature Immortal Nature: Piers Secunda at Edel Assanti
Curated by Gordon Cheung, Piers Secunda presents his ‘politically explosive’ work as part of a group exhibition designed to explore the prophesised end of the world. Immortal Nature is split across Edel Assanti’s three floors replicating the mythological components that make up the Underworld, the Earth and the Afterlife.

Each realm explores the tensions associated with, and consequences of, humanity’s mutable and complex relationship with the natural world. As well as some outstanding work from Secunda, the exhibitions will feature the work from international contemporary artists, Laurence Edwards, Robin Friend, Alex Honda, Nicolai Howalt, Hew Locke, Rui Matunago, Richard Mosse and Kelly Richardson.

With depictions of the Earth in violence and chaos, the floors dedicated to death and the afterlife challenge typical notions of life and death and encourage a much broader, more spiritual scope of thought throughout the exhibition.


Immortal Nature: Piers Secunda at Edel Assanti
Edel Assanti
276 Vauxhall Bridge Road

London SW1V 1BB

26 Jan – 3 March

















Immortal Nature: Piers Secunda at Edel Assanti

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