Assignment Two: Statement of Intent, Ultima Forsan

In the middle ages, Ultima Forsan, literally ‘perhaps the last’, would often be inscribed on clocks as a reminder of mortality with the implied meaning of ‘it is later than you think’.

This project is a meditation on living with the constant fear of losing those we love. It is an attempt to capture my subjective experience of this preoccupation with death and obsession with the fragility and fleeting nature of life. The series aims to be a modern day memento mori, urging the viewer to contemplate this impermanence, but also a memento vivere, an encouragement to be present and live life to the full every day.

With elderly parents and a husband in a permanent battle with life-threatening health issues, I suffer from a persistent dread of an existence without the people I love the most. This brings life into focus and gives me energy to treasure every moment.  I want to share that urgency with others.

This set of images presents fragments of the cycle of life and death and beyond, leaving gaps to be filled with individual thoughts and fears and longings.  It has elements of the ‘uncanny’ to slightly unsettle the audience and provoke feelings of transience. There are symbols of old age, suicide and sudden death, as well as birth, youth and middle age. Through these metaphors, I hope to trigger emotions and reactions which will remind us all of the brevity of our time here.

I have used gentle dramas and warm, rich tones to evoke a dream-like quality, suggesting we should not sleepwalk through life, as we will all soon be gone.

“Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” Rainer Maria Rilke, 1923

“Time is a funny thing. Time is a very peculiar item. When you’re young, you’re a kid, you got time. Throw away a couple of years here, a couple of years there. It doesn’t matter. you know? The older you get you say, ‘Jesus, how much I got?’  I got thirty-five summers left. Think about it. Thirty-five summers.” Benny, Rumblefish (dir Francis Ford Coppola, 1984)

“We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” Charles Bukowski, 1988

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4 Responses to Assignment Two: Statement of Intent, Ultima Forsan

  1. Catherine says:

    Good quotes there and looking forward to the images.


  2. John276778 says:

    “to evoke a dream-like quality, suggesting we should not sleepwalk through life, as we will all soon be gone.” I seem to sense a contradiction in this statement, about the not sleepwalking in a dream-like quality? Otherwise I feel drawn to your words more than those you have quoted from and I think that’s because you’ve used multiple ‘others’ and they will tend to draw in different directions. Now over to the images…


  3. Pingback: William Kentridge, Whitechapel Gallery 13.1.17 | Gesture & Meaning

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