Through photographic projects by Edgar Martins and Jordan Baseman, this exhibition presents two series of work that invite us to reflect on how we deal with death, as a society and individually.
Edgar Martins attempts to understand our relationship to death and photography’s role in this process through a variety of images. Jordan Baseman’s exhibition of memorial images sits within a long tradition of photography being used by families to remember their loved ones after they have passed.
In shaping the exhibition we have been in consultation with leading individuals & mental health organisations to ensure an open dialogue. Throughout the exhibition, we will be holding events considering the ethical responsibilities and systems of public beliefs around the work presented and sharing the findings.
The exhibition’s title, Flat Death, is taken from Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida which considers the photograph as a fixed record of a moment in time.
Edgar Martins presents a selection of images from his project titled, Siloquies and Soliloquies on death, life and other interludes.
Martins has worked closely with the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science in Portugal to create the work, which includes challenging images relating to death. Presented are photographs of forensic evidence, archival material and Martins’ own reflections.
Whilst upholding respect for the deceased and the bereaved, Martins raises the importance of discussing why our depiction and understanding of death creates tensions when spoken about in public.
Jordan Baseman presents one part of his 2013 exhibition, Deadness. Projected 35mm slides collected by the artist show images taken by families of recently deceased loved ones, or their funerals.
The project explores the historical, cultural and sociological relationship between photographic portraiture and embalming. The embalmer’s attention focuses on preparation for the moment relatives and loved ones view the deceased, to leave the bereaved with a peaceful image and memory of the deceased.
Interviews and discussion are central to Baseman’s creative process, this work focuses on the experiences of Dr John Troyer – Deputy Director for the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath.