Working with death as an aesthetic. Is it purely the shocking or a continuation of the gothic and the more macabre elements of romanticism, in the tracks of Henry Fuseli passing through Goya’s horrors of war, Kafka hybrid-human creatures and Otto Dix war paintings. It does affect the cultural process of forgetting and recognizes the power of death to keep historical memory alive while at the same time poking into religious doctrine of disturbing the dead and punting the concept of soul and eternity into a new realm where streaks of the morbid and pornographic coexist in an uneasy relationship…
So, there are some disturbing connections between death and artists, and secondly, does representing the morbid animate the living? Can art ventriloquize the dead and inanimate, where the artist is viewed as a communicating corpse detached from the living in an in-between world?
…His scratched, distressed photographs look as though they are rediscovered crime scene evidence from a Victorian era horror. Nude men and women mix with animal parts, masks, random bits of machinery, severed limbs, or bowls of fruit. Some of his works are borderline pornographic; most are deeply disturbing.Witkin was a war photographer in Vietnam and claims to have touched the decapitated head of a little girl following a horrific car accident when he was a child. Raised Roman Catholic, Witkin combines an old world gothic sensibility with an intense interest in deformity, perversity, and death….
…In the 1980s, Witkin advertised for models, asking for the following: “Pinheads, dwarfs, giants, hunchbacks, pre-op transsexuals, bearded women, people with tails, horns, wings, reversed hands or feet, anyone born without arms, legs, eyes, breast, genitals, ears, nose, lips. All people with unusually large genitals. All manner of extreme visual perversion. Hermaphrodites and teratoids (alive and dead). Anyone bearing the wounds of Christ.” This attraction to depicting the ill-formed and strange is reminiscent of the photographs of Diane Arbus or Robert Mapplethorpe. The same debate of “is it art or is it exploitation?” that surrounded their work is often thrown at Witkin.Read More:http://themorbidimagination.com/a
Corpse poem is a curious paradox. A dead body and a poetic discourse are mutually incompatible, two formal states each precluding the other. A
poem implies subjective depth while a corpse negates interiority. A poem signals presence of voice while a corpse testifies to its absence. A poem
quickens language while a corpse stills it. The fantastical coupling of corpse and poem denotes an extravagant rhetorical conceit, an impossible literary utterance. What to make, then, of an entire tradition of poems that deploy the strange literary device of a speaking corpse?Writers as diverse as Emily Dickinson and Thomas Hardy, Randall Jarrell and Richard Wright, H. D. and Dan Pagis have all used human cadavers as subjects of prosopopoeaic speech….
…Attributing consciousness and voice to an inanimate body, these writers irretrievably breach the boundary between the place where lan
intensifies (the poem) and the place where language vanishes (the corpse). Giving voice to the voiceless cadaver, corpse poems bring language more fully in line with death; they are literary fictions that seek to revivify and reauthorize the dead, at the risk of contaminating and killing poetry.To give voice to a corpse changes both. Read More:http: //mendota.english.wisc.edu/~clc/fuss.pdfa