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Pumpkins, spiders and memento mori

I have just understood that Halloween is a memento mori. The spiders helped. Here in London, towards the end of October, there are spiders everywhere. The spiders of my childhood were tiny, but here in London they are fat and easy to see. They also have enormous webs and work fast. From overnight there can be a web crossing the entrance, and if you are not careful, it sticks to your face and you take the tenant with you.

I like spiders, and bats and also witches. The rest not so much. I find the black and warm orange palette interesting. They are the colours of deprivation. Orange is the colour of dried earth during drought, and combined with black it reminds the old bit of our brain of the danger of famine. In itself, orange is a colour that unites the emotions of yellow and the body of red. It represents sensuality and abundance.

I am convinced that everything in nature, and in life, is complementary. We can’t just inhale or exhale, we have to do both, and in order. Orange can represent deprivation and also abundance. Which are somehow opposites. It is not polar, just two sides of the same coin. And they alternate. Cyclic, like the moon. Like everything. Even like our insistence on making everything linear, which is also cyclic.

Today, at a friend’s house decorated with colourful skulls, I kept seeing paintings in my head. Frida Kahlo’s, and the one’s of the renaissance with skulls, with or without books, on the table or in the corner. Or from the front but not really, like in Holbein’s ambassadors. I think I have finally understood the day before the day of the dead. On a cellular level and with the neurones of the gut. Thanks to art.

 

Illustration: “Memento Mori” from the Feminist Gooseneck Barnacles series. 14 x 9 cm, 2015

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