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The art of dying : depictions of death in the work of Andres Serrano, Joel-Peter Witkin and David Buchler.

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This dissertation explored visual representations of death in the photographic work of Andres Serrano and Joel-Peter Witkin, as well as the MAFA candidate's (David Buchler) own art practice. It looked at historical overviews of representations of death from the Middle Ages to present, as a means of contextualising and locating the reasons as to how images came to be the way they are in the present. Selected artworks were examined with particular theoretical reference to Phillipe Ariès' investigation into the changing attitudes towards death in Western society and Julia Kristeva's abjection theory. This dissertation focuses on the abjection of death and more specifically the corpse and the treatment of it in the work of Serrano and Witkin. This project explored some of the reasons why the images in this dissertation may be seen as disturbing and confrontational.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.


Serrano, Andres, 1950-, Witkin, Joel-Peter, 1939-, Death., Human figure in art., Theses--Fine art.