Adriana Maciel

Wk 2: Landscapes with a Corpse

Art 110 banner for Summer '17 course

If you could choose, what would your departure from this mortal life look like?

Image of a young man standing in front of a large wall mounted photograph from Izima Kaoru's series "Landscapes with a Corpse" Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru. Kimura Yoshino wears Alexander McQueen, 2007

to make one's self visible in the moment of disappearance -- Izima Kaoru

Life & Death

Izima Kaoru's twenty-year-long project of photographing Landscapes with a Corpse is as fresh and new as it is old and traditional. Art History's Baroque Memento mori paintings while glorious in their way, tended to be a little more decomposed and a little less Prada than Kaoru's photographs. Part fashion photography, part landscape, crime, cinema, these images are the rare opportunity to see one's own death, and then get up and walk away from it.

Image from Izima Kaoru's "Landscapes with a Corpse" photographic Memento Mori series Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru. Koike Kiko wears Gianni Versace, 2004.

Your Art Experience

In your Art110 Landscapes with a Corpse activity inspired by Kaoru, you imagine your departure, and create a photographic self-portrait. You can have all the help you like, but the image should be of yourself. Try working with other Art110 students to help each other and share props! Some of you will, no doubt, have a lot of fun with "movie blood," although none is required, capturing the great stillness of life is sufficient. You can use any "legal" space on or off campus. Be sure to clean up.

2 Pix

In addition to beautiful clothes and ideal "departure" settings, another hallmark of Karou's work is that he takes a series of images at very different distances from the subject: the wide image might show a huge section of Tokyo skyline, and then zoom progressively in on a body on a rooftop. In your activity try to take 2 or more images that show different context, or framing, or figure-ground relationships.

Blog It

  1. Blog your photos
  2. Discuss your thoughts on creating this scene.
  3. Some students feel that it's inappropriate to think about death in a college class. Other students feel that death is a fundamental aspect of our mortal lives and of course it should be considered in a college class. What do you think?
  4. Describe the idea you tried to create.
  5. How did it go? Do you feel successful?
  6. How would you do it differently if you did this again?
  7. Any other thoughs about this activity?

photo looking down the atrium of a multi-story dorm with a woman's body splattered on the ground below Robina Borrero, Art 110, Fall '12

detail of woman's body (simulating her demise) at the bottom of a college dorm atrium with a red plastic cup splattered beside her Robina Borrero, Art 110, Fall '12

Landscapes with a Corpse - Documentary Trailer from Chad Fahs on Vimeo.

Adriana Maciel floating in a pool Adriana Maciel

My boyfriend of two years broke up with me about a month ago and it hurt me tremendously. He was my first true love and I couldn’t imagine my life without him because I thought he was the one. We had lived together and we had been through so much in those years we shared. The week after he broke up with me I felt like I was literally drowning with emotions and everything reminded me of him or memories we shared, etc. I had never felt a heartbreak like this and I didn’t think I would ever overcome the feelings and depression I was dealing with.

I feel like this is not a representation of what I was feeling when I was ‘drowning’ in my sorrows, but I feel like this represents how I am feeling now. I understand why it didn’t work out with Andrew and I got closure from him so I am feeling a lot better about the situation. I feel at peace. I did drown figuratively but now I am content with myself and I feel like I let that piece of me that was so attached and heartbroken drown but I kept myself as a person afloat.

Adriana Maciel