Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If, At The Time Of My Death, Flies Are Keeping Vigil...

Fig. 1. Making a plaster death mask (New York, circa 1908)

'[Jules] Renard recorded in his Journal the death of [Henri de] Toulouse-Lautrec. The painter's father, a known eccentric, came to visit his son and instead of concerning himself with the patient immediately started trying to catch the flies circulating in the sick room. The painter, from his bed, remarked, 'You stupid old bugger!, then fell back and died.'

Julian Barnes (Nothing To Be Frightened Of)

Addendum: Dying - You're Already Doing It

Fig. 2. Damien Hirst - A Thousand Years (Steel, glass, flies, maggots, MDF, insect-o-cutor, cow's head, sugar, water), 1990

Damien Hirst talks about A Thousand Years with Rachel Campbell-Johnson

'But whenever I look at the question of how to live, the answer's always staring me in the face. I'm already doing it.'

Damien Hirst