The word is derived from the Latin vanus, meaning both "empty" and "frivolous".

Vanitas in art is a seductive concept that is (un)pleasantly abundant with contraction and temptation. We took the chance to plunge our senses into a Vanitas exhibition this Saturday as part of the London Frieze Art Fair. We enjoyed it immensely.

Join me, why don't you in a stroll through the dimmer recesses of the
imaginations of others:

33 Portland Place.

"British Wildlife" 2000 By Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
This work is made of 88 taxidermy animals.

"Sedia Electrica con Farfalle" 2010 by Bertozzi e Casoni

A work by Polly Morgan. I think, these are taxidermy quails heads?

This is actually a blurry photo of the walls in one of the rooms at 33 Portland Place. I must confess that I was in awe of the venue equally as much as some of the art.

The stark disparity that one witnesses moving from one room to another really sways the mind and mood and quickens the imagination. Well, at least it did so for me.

Through the room on the first floor.

"That same is He" by Tom Gallant 2010

"Same Thing only Silver" by Jake and Dinos Chapman 2010

"Vassoio" by Bertozzi e Casoni 2010

"Metal fucking rats with heart shaped tail" By time Noble and Sue Webster 2007. Made with welded scrap metal and a light projector.

"Ossobello" by
Bertozzi e Casoni 2010.

I think ossobello means "beautiful bones". This work was made of polychrome ceramic.

Taking a closer look.

I wonder what you make of all this?


  1. "Sedia Electrica con Farfalle" 2010 by Bertozzi e Casoni creeped me out somewhat, Im so scared of butterflies theyre are my worst nightmare =-

    the shadows are pure genius Im particularly digging the rats lol aw rodents =D

  2. The taxidermy sends shivers up my spine - not something I could do personally! Little odd things (especially bugs) make my own skin crawl... even when they are no longer alive (or never were)!

    The contrast between the hallways and the display rooms is fascinating though - if I'd only seen the hallway picture I'd never have imagined the kind of displays in the rooms!

  3. wow those are so freaky @_@ but cool!! how scary is the one with the baby chicks and butterfly..

  4. Fantastic! The art, as much as your (and Hiro's) photography...the last pic in particular is such a brilliant comment!
    Nina x

  5. I like what your wearing Sumi, you look like an explorer :)

  6. Yup u are right, i would be too scared to go do this XD i am chicken shit

    seeing them in photos i find them intriguing and amazing but i would be too scared to go do it in real life

  7. you always go the wackiest place! but i love it! XD

  8. the last picture is the best one! :D

  9. this is AMAZING! what a beautiful and creative way to display these pieces! oh how wonderful it would be to see these up close and in person. thank you so much for sharing and letting us take a stroll with you!!

  10. whatchu lookin' at OC?
    Ah, Freize is on.

    I wish I was in London...
    The penultimate picture is what captured my attention the most. Well photographed and thanks for sharing these incredible images.

  11. That Same is He is my fav!! The idea of taxidermy really disturbs me, I know it's just another method of 'recycling' though.

  12. a very intriguing exhibit...the two butterfly pieces are really interesting, though I'm always partial to anything with butterflies...those pieces put them in a much darker light!

  13. Ooo, these are so haunting...I have to admit I'm not a fan of the one by Polly Morgan though...poor quails :(! The last one is surprising sensual ;) At first I was like, huh, a pile of knicknacks...then I saw the shadow ^^

  14. Ohmygosh! I absolutely love such morbid art! I'm a fan of all things intriguing and morbid. I love how these scraps put together could create such life-like shadows (for the humping rats) and such hauntingly beautiful human shadows for the other one. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Oh I wish I could go personally to the art fair.

  15. Wow that is really interesting. I really like 'British Wildlife' and 'Ossobello'.
    I'm always intrigued at this kind of art. Art with no boundries.
    I don't know if I got go in here alone though XD

  16. Nightmarish, yet strangely fascinating at the same time. The way the shadows become something is amazing. love the last shot of you. Xxxx

  17. Absolutely breathtaking works of art! Both dark and beautiful. I love it. Thanks for sharing. Must be an experience to see it in person.


    my kinda place..im looking for a new apt and this is sooo my kinda place...i jope it comes fully furnished...i really love to have the taxidermy birds with the amazing view of decapitated heads

    where is the X to sign!

  19. ***Lord, I swear never to eat chicken again! (ok, perhaps not today) All those digested chick-food came back in that horror kind of lamp***

  20. oh wow..soo creepy, but i like some of them. i esp. like the "Metal fucking rats with heart shaped tail"...hahaha i thought the little heart shaped tail was absolutely funny and cute! :D

  21. i think my favorite piece is the electric chair butterflies. amazing.


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