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?