The skull has entranced and fascinated generations of artists. Romancing the skull looks at the depiction of the skull in art and examines why we continue to be so enamoured with this iconic symbol. The exhibition explores a range of themes including the skull as a reminder of our mortality, the use of the skull in addressing social and political issues, and the skull and crossbones as a symbol of piracy and rebellion.
Romancing the skull will also look at the way in which the skull has been embraced as an important symbol in Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Prints by Mexican artists José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) have become synonymous with Day of the Dead and his Calaveras (skull figures) are now firmly embedded in Mexican popular culture. More than twenty of his iconic prints will be introduced to Australian audiences for the first time.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a Nuremberg Chronicle dating from 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images, and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It will also include works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green and Ben Quilty and specially commissioned works by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart.
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Don’t forget to book your Orbital Vanitas Virtual Reality ticket when you book your exhibition tickets
I imagined the skull approaching and then engulfing you, as if it were the mysterious surviving fragment of a lost science fiction film.
Shaun Gladwell, The New York Times, 25 January 2017
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the first Australian gallery to present this remarkable Virtual Reality experience.