Transi – 2010, collage, 62cm x 130cm/24in x 52in, © 2020 Dixon Adair


In the Middle Ages, momento mori imagery depicting a decomposing corpse was popular.  Using the famous transi or cadaver monument of René de Chalon, I’ve added disparate images in a new rendering. 

Instead of gazing at his heart as in the original, he holds a newborn rising from a pregnant body that doubles as his muscular arm.  A stork flies over crowds on a beach carrying babies on pillows.

African women carrying water pots replace the skeleton’s femurs, children’s heads act as the knees, Greek statuary and models provide the legs, together completing transi’s body.

The transi stands in a landscape of termite hills, quarries, abandoned factory, cliff dwellings, and skyscrapers.

A YKK zipper acts as visual pun to apartment buildings on the left.  At the top, dolphins fly above a lake in a cold mountainous region. At the bottom, beseeching hands reach up from the underworld.

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