Author: José Antonio Ortiz
Published by Temporal
120 pages. Softcover
21 x 13 cm
In museums I always look for post mortem portraits, a genre with a long tradition in the history of art. That morbid look at the deceased to preserve his image through painting, photography or the creation of funeral masks taken directly from the dead face with a plaster cast, horrifies me and attracts me at the same time. I am powerfully struck by this interest in fixing this vision of a person precisely when he or she is no longer a person, when he or she is no longer there.
During my father's last night, which I spent sitting next to him in a hospital, in those hours of silence and shadows, many of the paintings I had seen and studied for years came to mind. It comforted me to remember iconographies of death and transience, they helped me to say goodbye to him. I looked to what I knew for understanding and comfort in the painful process of loss.