‘’Danse Macabre’, 2020. This painted banner was created for ‘Window Exhibition’, a weekend-long exhibition held in the city of Bergen. Several artists displayed artworks in their windows or gardens: some performed from windows or balconies. I wanted to create a painting derived from Bernt Notke’s danse macabre paintings, after the atmosphere of the pandemic made me think a lot about the late 15th century Notke painting I saw at St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2019.

I’ve long been interested in our collective relationship to death and grief. Medieval and preindustrial communities were closer to death in everyday life, the death of infants and young people being commonplace. Now we take great pains to distance ourselves from thoughts of it, and engage the heterotopic spaces of care homes, hospitals, and graveyards to do so. The intentions of danses macabres were to remind us of the inevitability of death and encourage us to be humble to this, to use our time on earth well. They also served as a warning to the upper echelons of society: you too will die, and you cannot take your riches with you.

Danse Macabre, 2020. Acrylic on  painter’s fleece, 1mx10m