I enjoyed the ‘Death’ exhibition at Wellcome Museum in London so much, I was really pleased to discover that in my home city of Bristol, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery were now also hosting a temporary ‘Death, the human experience’ exhibition.
I’m not sure I can put my finger on why I find the symbols of death so interesting. Perhaps it’s because it seems in equal parts mysterious and scientific. Perhaps because it’s shared globally, and has generated a wealth of interpretations, art and narrative.
As we busy ourselves with Life, it becomes richer for recognising Death.
I made my way to the exhibit and spent so long drawing and studying each artifact that it closed before I could see it all. I’ll be back to take in more. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you some of the sketches I did manage to get down on paper. The exhibition runs until 13th March 2016, if you’re in the area.
In my travels I’ve picked up and visited some interesting death artifacts of my own:
Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
The Old Operating Theatre, London
The Last Laugh, Mr Jones Watches, London
Tin sugar skull, Mexico
Doorsteps of cat owners the world over.
Illustration from the book Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch
Well, I’ll confess. I’m feeling a little out of sorts. It started with coming back to the hostel after my day out and my bed was missing. It was an odd feeling especially as my bed was the top bunk. For a moment I wondered if I was even in the right room. Turned out the staff had moved things around for some reason.
Also feeling out of sorts because I had a hostel in mind that I wanted to stay at in Olomouc. I heard the girls talking in the dorm next to mine that they were going to Olomouc today and they found this, oh just perfect hostel and described the one I’d been hoping to stay at. Unfortunately there were a lot of them and booked up the whole place. So to plan B. Trusty hostel bookers provided nothing but a mere shrug of a suggestion and my plan is to now ‘wing it’. I usually like to somewhat plan things so feeling out of my comfort zone… I’m sure it’ll be fine…. Right…?
So anyway, despite the developments of the past couple hours, the day preceding it was great. Got my self to the train station for a day trip to Kutna Hora. Turns out I turned up at the wrong station. I’m looking forward to when I stop having so many ‘duh’ moments and can actually get on with this adventuring thing.
At Kutna Hora there is a church decorated with bones. It was amazing, so well crafted, the bones of over 4000 people were used. did some drawing but got quite cold in the crypt. Went to the cathedral over the road, the oldest in central Europe. I got a bus into town and was gob smacked by the Church saint Barbara. I’m going to research that, not sure if I got the name right… Barbara doesn’t sound very Czech.
Anyway, Kutna Hora very pretty. It was nice to get out and about I had done a lot of walking in Prague. Particularly when I made a random single serving friend yesterday. He was nice, we talked life, love and religion and then he went on his way when he caught his train later that day. Random but nice. Not much sightseeing involved though…
Tomorrow will see what Olomouc will bring. At least I know where the train station is now.