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Alternative Issue: An Alternative to Life – Welcome Collection, Death a Self Portrait

Submitted by on March 5, 2013 – 3:03 pmNo Comment

3,000 bones make up a chilling chandelier at the Welcome Collection exhibition.

A skeleton leans sideways on a park bench,  the essence of where life once was now  just bare bones remain. As you look up a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey hangs eerily from the high exhibition ceiling and strikes you as you enter into this death obsession.

What is death? It is one of the only few things in life that is certain and can be at any time. Richard Harris’ exhibition cleverly explores both the gruesome and creepy side of death along with the funny and beautiful with over 300 pieces from his personal collection that keeps you completely engrossed.

This is no ordinary exhibition with paintings, artworks, waxworks, sculptures and artefacts all focused on the morbid side of life.

Richard Harris speaking at the Wellcome Collection opening said: “My interest started with anatomy and grew from there; I then narrowed it down to skeletons and skulls of the human. The uniqueness of this exhibition is in both breadth and depth. I hope that my collection opens a gateway into people being more open and talking about death that they wouldn’t do otherwise.”

Harris is devoted to death and this amazing exhibition really gives an insight into the painful, beautiful but gruesome side of death so well with his works neatly placed in the exhibition rooms with no effort to aesthetically make it look pleasing on the eye. The blank rooms really emphasize the sheer thought, attention and meaning of these pieces that he has been collecting over many years.

The exhibition is split up into five categories: Contemplating death, Dance of death, violent death, Eros and Thanatos and commemoration. All of these are further explained when entering the exhibition.

Shocking human remains are cleverly juxtaposed with beautiful sketches of skeletons that set this exhibition out from the rest. Harris has said about the exhibition that he wants people to be more at one with death rather than pushing it to the side, speaking at the exhibition opening he said: “It has made me even think about death much more, I’m 75, everyone ought to not be obsessed by death but be aware that dying is a big part of living.”

There is so much life in death in this beautiful exhibition that you almost forget the morbid and serious side of it that death comes to everyone. The exhibition really makes the viewer come to terms with death and be at peace with it rather than the stigma of people being scared of it, I would highly recommend it to anyone that has a fascination with the subject and even more so for people that are a bit freaked out by it or think of it as a taboo subject.

This exhibition is for everyone and you will not leave unsatisfied. The death exhibition is going to be become a permanent part of the Wellcome collection due to its popularity, don’t miss this once in a lifetime experience.

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