Encountering Corpses

Paul Koudounaris, Sue Fox, others
27 March 2014 to 10 April 2014
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MMU's Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research proudly present an exclusive exhibition of photography and community art as part of the "Encountering Corpses" symposium.

The exhibition will be comprised of three interleaved elements, all of which evoke themes of death, contemplation and empathy.

Firstly, Paul Koudounaris will be exhibiting 12 large-scale photographs from his two books Heavenly Bodies: Cult treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Thames and Hudson, 2013) and The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses (Thames and Hudson 2011). This is the very first exhibition of Paul’s work outside North America.

Paul Koudounaris has a PhD in Art History from UCLA and specializes in the visual culture of death. He is the author of The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses (Thames and Hudson, 2011) and Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Thames and Hudson, 2013). His more global study of decoration is scheduled for a 2014 release under the title Memento Mori.

Secondly, MMU’s Sue Fox will be exhibiting a series of photographs from work undertaken for her book Post Mortem, which was published originally in 1997. For this work, Sue gained unparalleled access to autopsies, mortuaries and crematoria in Manchester. Featuring work which has never previously been exhibited, this will be a rare chance to experience these haunting and thought provoking works first hand.
Sue Fox is known for her taboo images of the dead in a three part series called Vile Bodies, on contemporary and international photographers in 1997 & 2000. Sue is currently working on new photographic images about ‘the visceral body’ and a series on ‘abandoned buildings’ exploring the peripheries of access points. She is also working on her first novel, and looking for a major publishing deal in 2014

Finally, as a counterpoint to the professional photography being exhibited there will be responsive pieces from local community artists who will reflect on the themes of the exhibition from varied perspectives and walks of life. Intrinsic to the Encountering Corpses events is a sense that we can grow as living beings through our encounters with the dead. The exhibition will be hosted by Sacred Trinity Church and so, to illustrate and practice this theme, the community art group based at Sacred Trinity will be presenting a series of their own new and original art works, inspired by thinking about death, burial and dead bodies in art and other cultural spaces.

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