Matthew Couper and Jo Russ:
use of the skull in art has scattered origins, with David Cauchi’s ‘skeleton guy’ self portraits showing
his interest in Aztec symbolism and Day of the Dead processions
to Tony de Lautour’s use of more contemporary, home-made
tattoo imagery. We have lived with Tony de Lautour’s large
work Seven Dollar Skull in our bedroom. We see its skulls,
chains and ghost-like forms as invoking the comic symbolism of
lowbrow death cults. Sleeping alongside this work no doubt doesn’t
conform to the ideals of feng shui, but we are comfortable with
of a Wellington interior threatened by the motorway by-pass acts
as a remembrance piece to student flats and the associated culture
that is now a scarcity in the central city.
This section also presents a religious take on mortality and the
associated symbolism, as seen in the images by Richard Wotton,
Laurence Aberhart and Peter Ireland.
find humour in Hayden Fritchley’s photograph of Matt
Hunt wearing a drawn-on tattoo of George W. Bush in a coffin, which
points jokingly at American fraternity initiations and notions
of ‘re-birth’. Lauren Lysaght’s darkly humorous
sculpture suggests deadly potential in modern technology and contemporary
plagues, such as bird flu.
lest we forget, one of the most chilling works is Myra Hauschild’s
photograph of a map at Auschwitz showing the plethora of concentration
camps throughout Germany during World War II.