The Beginning and The End: The Chronicles of Life and Death

The works chosen for this gallery embody the dichotomy of life and death, the presence of life as an entity all to itself, and/or the presence of death as an entity all to itself. In all of these works, regardless of the specific focus, each presents and supports the relationship of life and death as a slightly codependent, inevitable cycle. In looking at the two focus artworks specifically, one being a sculpture and the other being a painting, the dichotomy between life and death is seen perfectly. The sculpture, Life and Death, by II Ho Lee and shown in the Korean Art Museum, portrays life and death as nearly two sides of the same coin, two expressions of the human face. The painting, Death and Life, by Edward Munch and shown in the Oslo Munch Museum, demonstrates the dichotomy as two whole individuals intertwined in an embrace, perhaps portraying a relationship between the two humans that also exists between life and death.  The similarities between the two focus works are shared among many, if not all of the pieces in this gallery; the line between life and death is not thick, and the path between the two is a one way street.  In a significant amount of the artworks, there is a common understanding that many aspects of life can be mirrored in death as well. Regardless, all the works as a whole show the effects of life, death, and the life cycle as a whole as natural occurrences in the present world.

This particular artwork is the prime focus for my "Life and Death" gallery theme because it represents the dichotomy of life and death exactly the way I envision it. Like this sculpture, life and death are closely linked, sometimes appearing at the same time according to many cultures' beliefs in regards to superstition. Life on the bottom and death on the top are prime examples of the order in which a human cycle is carried out; while life is indeed the beginning of the human life journey, death is the proceeding stage that will ultimately "end up on top" by ending the human life cycle.
This particular artwork represents the "Life or Death" gallery because it is another interesting design that presents the dichotomy of life and death. Here life and death are represented almost as lovers, as two that go hand in hand to complete one another. The idea that these two personifications create a complete relationship could be seen as the concept of life and death needing to come together to be a complete person, and to therefore "complete" a person (or specifically, a person's life). The intertwining of the forms, embracing, and close proximity support the codependent relationship of life and death.
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