How does one learn to accept the concept of death? Or reconcile with death? Ars Moriendi – The Art of Dying refers to 15th century Latin texts giving guidance on how to receive death in the correct manner. These edicts concerning a good death travelled afar consoling those at the brink of death as well as their caretakers. The fear of death and the very notion that a good life involves the examination of death has haunted visual artist Leonor Ruiz Dubrovin (b. 1978) since early adolescence. Ruiz Dubrovin considers death, in all its complexity and absurdity, an existential challenge and deconstructs it  through art.

Our understanding of death and the afterlife has changed greatly over the centuries; in the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age death did not connote the end of life, rather the beginning of a new journey.  The end terminus of the human soul was largely dependent on how one conducted oneself in life. In the current exhibition Ruiz Dubrovin commingles these notions with her own thoughts on existential manifestations. Through her works she ponders how we position ourselves in relation to death. Ruiz Dubrovin studies the dynamic between life and death in contemporary renderings of the Vanitas theme. In some of her works the human body is presented as a fragile vessel – the works refer to both loss and the prospect of recovery.

In recent years Ruiz Dubrovin has focused on developing and expanding her working methods. The works have gone from a two-dimensional and painterly idiom towards the spatial and sculptural. The most recent works are informed by drawings and paintings, and the artist’s need to disrupt her established processes, and give them volume. Even when the sculptures are completely three-dimensional, they remain anchored in the painterly tradition.

Katariina Timonen

Exhibition Assistant at Amos Anderson Art Museum