The author's work presented by me is based on a Latin phrase which means 'remember that you must die' or in Portuguese 'remember that you will die'.
“Remember that you must die.”
I present the decomposition of a female body in nine stages, from the beginning of this woman's death to her 'total' disappearance. I use japonism as an art style as an inspiration to better represent what I want to express.
However, this type of representation is known as kusôzu, it is an art style that appeared in the 16th century and continued until almost the end of the 19th century.
The meaning of kusôzu is literally “painting of the nine stages of decomposition of a body”, which portrays the decomposition of a body, usually female, in a very graphic way. It is regarded as a rather shocking art form due to its theme and graphics.
Kusôzu was inspired by Buddhist beliefs and such paintings were used to encourage people to ponder the temporary nature of the physical world.
“A memento mori is an artwork designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the shortness and fragility of human life.”
As the phrase says, a work on Memento mori serves to remind the viewer of his mortality and the fragility of human life.
Another word related to this concept is the word of Latin origin Vanitas, which is a work of art that symbolizes the futility of pleasure and the certainty of death.
The term originated from the first words of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Holy Bible.
“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
Memento mori and Vanitas paintings became popular in the 16th century, at a time when almost everyone thought that life on Earth was just a preparation for life after death, that is, a brief passage to something beyond.
Although kusôzu is a genre of painting that fits into the scientific or religious nature, it also has an erotic connut, due to most of its representations by Japanese painters, choosing women as subjects.
In Buddhism, overcoming sexual desire is necessary for the path of grace. The female body was used for such representations, as therapy for Buddhist monks to feel disgust and aversion. Women were also asked to meditate on the repulsive aspects of their own bodies.
“The pictorial function is attuned to Buddhist meditation on the corpse, which is to instill a deep sense of revulsion for the human body, particularly that of the opposite sex, so that the monk or devotee will not be tempted by the flesh and realize the impermanence of the body, especially their own, and renounce it.”
For the composition of the decomposition, several photographic images were merged to become a single image. I photographed the background where I live and made some nude self-portraits, I used photographic elements, one in 3D and some digital brushstrokes in Photoshop, to simulate the decomposition of this “woman”.
I decided to use the various seasons of the year, because during decomposition, in addition to its various stages, it also goes through nature's own process and undergoes changes with it. I even portrayed day and night to dramatize the theme more, but also to make it more “beautiful”, due to it being a rather macabre theme.
The format chosen for this photographic project was inspired by Japanese scrolls, better known by the name of emakimono, these scrolls are illustrations that combine image and text, usually tell a story, are read from right to left. Emakimono are painted on paper or silk, their purpose is to provide cultural information and teach moral values.
2. Moss took over the body.
3. Start of decomposition.
4. Change in the skin tone.
5. The first parasites.
6. Exposure of internal organs during advanced decomposition.