Ballarat’s ‘Romancing the Skull’
Art Gallery of Ballarat’s exhibition “Romancing the Skull” is a celebration of all things related to the skull. It examines its power as a symbol representing death, danger, rebellion, defiance and a ‘devilmay-care’ view of life itself. While skulls and skeletons take centre stage, the exhibition also takes sideways glances at historic imagery such as medieval Dances of Death, pirate flags, poison bottles and tattoo art. More than 20 prints by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913), long associated with the Day of the Dead, are on show to Australian audiences for the first time. Other exhibition highlights include a woodcut print from the renowned Nuremberg Chronicle of 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 the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. There are also works commissioned specially for the exhibition by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart and contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green and Ben Quilty.