In the seminar Shaping the Ephemeral. Strategies of Representing the Intangible in the Contemporary Art we got to know some of the tools as how to represent the evanescent in art. While getting introduced to various approaches, the first one really stayed in my mind. The concept of vanitas still lifes shows motives of full and rich life just aside to symbolizing details for death and decay. Yet for me I thought there was but a problem with these pictures and paintings: every single one of them required the clear interpretation of the motives and symbols. For some you even needed to know about the concept of vanitas in order to grasp the meaning of it. From my studies of psychology I know that every interpretation – such as needed for the vanitas motives – is dependent on the subject’s thoughts and experiences. Thus every picture could be interpreted differently by different people. I personally connected the motive of vanitas to much with the idea of death while the ephemeral of life fell aside. The aspects were too destructive and negative since the theme of vanitas is always concerned with “inevitable loss”. So I wanted to take a different approach to this topic.


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