Where does human life start and where does it end?
The answer to that question seems to be obvious enough: it starts with birth and it ends with death.
But our spirit is able to animate dead matter, and if it doesn’t do so physically it tries to do so spiritually.
We try to grasp life and death in scientific, philosophical, religious, spiritual and artistic ways.
Where are the differences between science and ritual, between description and imagination, between a Congolese nkisi figure and a robot?
Or are there no real differences?
Hans van der Ham (1960) has curated a wonderful and very full summer exhibition in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam with works and objects varying from robots to Medieval and Renaissance paintings.
Per room the show is arranged in different chapters.
It tries to avoid the sentimental aspects of life and death but instead focuses on the way we try to harness or control life apart from physical human life, and in doing so create different aesthetics.
As such aesthetics has become a matter of life and death.
This is surely one of the most inspired and inspiring thematic exhibitions of the season.
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]
© Villa Next Door 2018
Content of all photographs courtesy to the owners of the works and to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam