‘Romancing the Skull’ – Art Gallery of Ballarat

In News November 9, 2017


Saturday 14 October 2017 to Sunday 28 January 2018

Romancing the Skull is a celebration of all things related to the skull, its power as a symbol representing not just death and danger, but rebellion, defiance and a ‘devil may care’ view of life itself. The core of the exhibition will be skulls and skeletons as they are featured in Australian contemporary art, but the exhibition will also take sideways glances at historic imagery such as medieval Dances of Death, pirate flags, poison bottles and tattoo art. The skull has always been an iconic symbol, and it is frequently featured in art. This tribute to the skull puts the question, ‘why has it been so fascinating for so long to so many people?’
The exhibition coincides with Dia de Muertos celebrations, with the Day of the Dead Festival moving from Federation Square in Melbourne to Ballarat on 4 November.
More than twenty prints by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) – long associated with the Day of the Dead – will be on show to Australian audiences for the first time.
Other exhibition highlights include a woodcut print from the renowned Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images, and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. 
Romancing the Skull will include also works commissioned specially for the exhibition by Fiona Hall, Rekko Rennie and Sally Smart, as well as works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green, Heather Shimmen and Ben Quilty. 
The exhibition will include events, talks, an educational program, and school holiday activities. 
Visitors with a real skull tattoo can gain entry for just $10 – provided it can be shown without offending public decency!

Location: Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, Victoria

Image featured at top: Rona Green ‘Sergey’  2008, linocut and intaglio, 76 x 56 cm



Pictured above: Louise Saxton ‘Vanitas #2 The Twitcher’ reclaimed needlework



Pictured above: Reko Rennie, Skull, animation still


Pictured above: Heather Shimmen T Pottering  2016, linocut and stencil on felt17 x 15 cm


For further details and to book tickets visit https://artgalleryofballarat.com.au/gallery_exhibitions/romancing-the-skull/