He had his death's head and his dress-coat, just as when he appeared to Joseph Buquet
He had seen the ghost behind the Persian, THE GHOST WITH THE DEATH'S HEAD just like Joseph Buquet's description
If the ghost came to the box, he must be seen, because he wore a dress-coat and a death's head.
All that talk about his death's head and his head of fire is nonsense
Huge-boned, tall, gaunt to cadaverousness, his face a dirty death's head
, he was as repellent a nightmare of old age as ever Dore imagined.
Similarly absent are memento mori hourglasses, death's heads
and crossed bones, which were such a feature of 17th-century life with its high mortality rates.
The artist creates his small universes from a regular cast of icons and symbols, employing animals such as elephants, turtles and crows alongside death's heads
, skeletons, kings and jokers, clouds, candles and boats.
Social historians might ask the meaning, for instance, of the images of monkeys, death's heads
, biers, peasants, and rats on several of her earrings.
There's a storm coming, mother, I said, but mother was gone out to the shore, picking up shells like little death's heads
, a pelt of sleet on her back.
Both the building and the persons who occupy it are death's heads
, a composite memento mori.
In the living room, a statue of a group of street thugs with death's heads
for faces is made of fiberglass and tinted dark purple with auto-body paint.
The X-Rays, 1989-91, in which Gen-zken exposed her own skull as she laughed and drank, fall into this same line of black humor: Here again she inverts the techno-optimism of Moholy even as she also invokes any number of German death's heads
from Diirer to Dada and beyond.
Laughing Skull, Eating History, and The Old School (all 2008) all depict death's heads
(whether real or artificial is unclear) leering from tabletops, while the partially blotted-out face of a woman in Tracer, 2008, exhibits the kind of quiet violence with which the work of Luc Tuymans is habitually identified.
His hands trace his explanations with precise elegance, and, as if by conjuration, a series of animated skulls glide in front of him; as Wallat's ideas become more complex, the death's heads
follow him like balls, almost as if he ruled with the power of a magician.
The traditional compositions of flowers, fruits, and death's heads
have been replaced by the flotsam and jetsam of the urban landscape: a shoe, a book, a watch, a soccer ball, a condom, a cupcake wrapper, a syringe, or even a cross, each one discovered by chance and recorded in its thoroughly unnatural setting--so many metaphors, not simply for death and decomposition, but also for the abandonment and isolation of the living.