Can art inspire change or help us to heal?
In this series of five films we look at how artists deal with some of the most complex or difficult topics through their work.
Our first two films explore the role of artists in communicating our urgent climate crisis and how artists take on death and mortality. Upcoming films in the series include how they deal with love and heartbreak, how they have poked fun at class observations and the role of artists during times of war.
How Artists Respond to Death
Some of the earliest examples of photography are also the darkest. By the mid-19th century, photography had become widespread enough that after the death of family members, some Victorian families commissioned post-death photographs of their loved ones.
Death photography didn't come out of nowhere. We have dancing skeletons, erotic reapers, Memento Mori, and skulls...so many skulls. What recurrent symbols of death can we find throughout the history of art and why have artists always been so obsessed with death and mortality? This film is part of a new series The Art of Discomfort which looks at how artists explore or present challenging themes in their work
Explore artists from this film
How Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis
From its earliest origins, people’s relationship with nature and the environment has been a core theme in art. In earlier examples, artists portrayed the natural world as a mystic, powerful entity, a physically dominating force. But in recent decades, that dynamic has turned on its head, as humankind’s impact on our environment becomes ever more clear, urgent, and irreversible.