Rankin – In The Face of Death

Today I watched a video that was based on Rankin’s work – Alive in the Face of Death. Portraying something that is inevitable to happen to everyone yet many are afraid to face that fact that at some point we will all die. On the other hand there are people who have come to terms with the fact they could or will die in the near future; people who are ill with cancer or other diseases otherwise work in the industry of death. Yet until that time they get prepared both mentally and physically through their funeral and belongings while fighting to live everyday they can. These are the people who influence Ranking with this work.

As quoted in the Liverpool museum

“Death; we can deny it and medicine can delay it, but it is life’s only certainty. Despite this, it remains the ultimate taboo in British society today.”

From this Ranking creates art work based on these people through looking at their personality. Capturing their real look of how they feel about themselves not in the body form.

As here with the image of Sandra Barber, the woman wanted to be a warrior battling against what is making her ill. Through this she is made to have a glamorous look through feathers and make-up which at the same time reference features familiar to native Indians famous for fighting and also war paint showing that she is prepared to take on the battle.

Where as, here brothers Sam and Dan Lloyd focus on their passion for football and Liverpool FC. So much so they work out how they can get past the barrier to play their sport. Showing that what they believe in is stronger than what is stopping them and that they still have their lives to lead. So are going to enjoy every minute they have.

This work shows emphasise of courage and strength, people who may have once been scared, who may still be scared but still they have the strength to fight on. To live their life while they can! Also helping Ranking face his fear of death, so much so he brings himself into his work by being the face used to create skulls for Mexican death masks for the Day of the Death festival in memory of loved ones.

This also brings to mind other artist’s works such as Damien Hurst – For the Love of God, skull based on an ancient skull that resembles death. While the exhibition, “‘For the Love of God’ acts as a reminder that our existence on earth is transient”. Where he says Death is “You don’t like it, so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.” In turn portraying how many people respond towards death, how many who don’t have to face it at a time focus on death. In turn creating a symbol of death, the skull and encrusting it in 8601 diamonds. Something that people would kill for yet is seen as being a beauty where a worth is given to explain how important they are. When questioning are they really worth people’s lives? So much so that people would kill for them.


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