Please or Register to create posts and topics.

In death there is beauty

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted:  February 6, 2019

Artist Description: Death is part of living and not the opposite. This piece represents that there is beauty in death because it is a fragment of life itself. Death cannot be escaped by creatures alike, yet it is a transformation that we all share. 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

In death there is beauty is a springboard. After this piece, which sits at the ideological origin point for artist Solis’ work, there is an explosion of style and interest throughout the artist’s oeuvre. Describing themselves as “an Italian digital artist who makes art come alive,” Solis makes good on that description by stretching and pulling digital artistic techniques in every possible direction, achieving a host of different effects and explorations as a result. We find the artist exploring digital portraiture and the kind of emotionality that animation can add to a static human form. We find Solis exploring generative art practices in pieces that reveal an environment building atop itself and then degrading. For long periods, color seems the central motivation within Solis’ works. Then landscapes dominate. Elsewhere, periods of abstraction. And yet, within In death there is beauty, we find hints at all of the artist’s interests-to-come. In death there is beauty is a twisting miasma of a piece, a distillation of life and death that never sits still, never moves smoothly, never waits around to be analyzed; a still-life this is not. Nor is it  glitch, though perhaps glitch-adjacent. It is not abstraction but has studied in abstraction’s school. It is a vibrant piece of animated art that nevertheless plays with our conception of darkness. It is a two-second loop, but so much of Solis is contained within it.

The piece itself explores the interplay between a photo-realistic skull and the host of secondary effects —glitchy and hyper-colored, swirling and flashing— which force it to change, shift, and swivel in place.  The skull might well be a photo. Should we pause this looping video at its outset, we’d see the skull displayed upon a black background, captured completely in grey-scale. It appears dusty. It is cracked along its forehead, and has a thin line spanning its scalp as if it is a prop from an anatomy class that can be opened and peered within. A, shall we say, off-screen light shines on its face, though its back segment and nape quietly descend into darkness. But it takes a bit of effort to see all of this because immediately the skull begins changing. It is physically swirled, distended into abstract segments, wispy lines of green and pink and grey which extend outwards in opposite directions like twin bananas. The skull isn’t there anymore; its identifiability has been washed away along with its form. The background has changed too, with an amalgam of white and green and pink lines appearing from the blackness, segmenting it into squares. Things shift quickly from here. The skull slowly, disjointedly swirls back into itself, reversing the rapid process that came previously. As it does so, color palettes shift across the whole piece. Both the skull and the lines in the background become inflected by new colors: red and turquoise, then yellow and royal blue. In these secondary and tertiary poses, the skull is slightly less demented, is slightly more recognizable, is under thrall of these colors, which flow through it in thin lines like blood would. For a brief moment of repose, the image returns to itself: a colorless skull upon an empty background. The repetition of the loop is not smooth. It’s choppy, as if the product of a lagging graphics card. What do we pick up on the second, third, fourth time watching it? I see now, for instance, that the skull does not jump into its initial swirling abstraction, but is pulled that way, exists for half-a-second as a series of pink-and-green cubes stretching outwards, as if the skull has been been turned to code, as if it’s ripping apart from itself before fully becoming unmarried from form.

I am always enamored when the classical comes into conversation (if not collision) with the digital. A favorite of mine from the Genesis Collection, Break free by Gary Cartlidge, comes to mind. In death there is beauty is, in my opinion, just as magnificent. Especially in light of Solis’ Artist Description, a short meditation on death which reads, “Death is part of living and not the opposite. This piece represents that there is beauty in death because it is a fragment of life itself. Death cannot be escaped by creatures alike, yet it is a transformation that we all share.” That concept of transformation is, I believe, at the heart of this piece. In the realm of this artwork, classical forms are the baseline, a foundation. The skull as representation of human beings, human thought, human classical communication: photography or painting, oil/acrylic. What thereafter happens to the skull is as outside its own limited purview as death is to ours. The digital processes which are used to change, reshape, and recolor the skull are unknown to it. From our vantage point outside the piece, it’s nothing so scary, but within the logic of the artwork, it may well represent the unknown, all these processes which are foreign to the central image but still beholden to a greater, albeit unknowable, logic.

And perhaps the following commentary can be consumed as such without needing to be totally explicated, but the video being itself such a short loop is a wonderful allegory. The repetition of life itself, beginning and ending, changing, beginning and ending, changing, and so on and so forth. The quick sputtering nature of the video, over before we can appreciate it, before we can get more than a taste of its nuance. And all the things we would discover thereafter if we can go at it again, again, again knowing its shape, flow, and focus. 

You are not allowed to do this. Please login and connect your wallet to your account.