c'est la mort

Post-mortem portraits

Death is something that in Western culture, we are taught to fear and keep out of conversation. When a person dies, the custom is to swiftly remove the body from sight, to keep the natural process of death hidden until it is time to view the wax-like embalmed corpse. When we see a dead animal on the road, we look away and continue driving. The purpose of my work in C’est la Mort is to break down the taboos of death and how we interact with it, focusing on the life and death of road-killed animals.

Victorian era mourning traditions such as hair jewelry and death portraits are long gone from the mainstream. Fascinated by death practices and how the Western view of death has changed in the past few centuries, I am using taxidermy and photography to explore the way the we engage with death. I view my taxidermy practice as a way to intimately engage with and beautify death, and give dignity to bodies otherwise left to be run over on the road.

The work in C’est la Mort provokes viewers to acknowledge the pause after life ends and become more comfortable with death. While these photographs are of road-killed small mammals, it serves as a memento mori, a reminder that you, too, will die.

C'est la Mort was shown at The Crucible Art Collective in Buffalo, NY in November of 2020.

© 2021 deadbird (Lauren Cox) • All rights reserved