Animation, video projection, plexiglass
7 1/8 x 10 1/2 x 1/8 in (18 x 26.7 x 0.3 cm)
Vanitas consists of a projection (double-sided) onto a sculpture representing a human skull. As the spectator skirts the periphery of the piece, the artwork seems to disappear because of its shallow depth. The title Vanitas alludes to the famous tradition within European art, in which the viewer is confronted by his own mortality. Philippe Safire has created a digital version of this oft represented icon, collapsing an artistic tradition into modernity. In Vanitas, the artist explores the topic of death and digital technology by depicting the intrusive presence both share in our existence. Among possible interpretations, Safire emphasizes the brevity of life compared with technology’s advancement over time.