Painting: Death and life by Gustav Klimt
A harmonious grouping of blissful humans, wrapped up together, flowing together in deep joy and enjoyment of life, all the while devastatingly unaware of what lurks beyond this life-giving cocoon. An ancient mythical figure of a skeleton. Lurking and patiently biding its time for its inevitable victory.
I stood before this painting in the Leopold Museum in Vienna. “Death and life” by Gustav Klimt. It struck me in my entire body that life and death were not two separate events. They exist simultaneously. A potent duality of being that needs to be appreciated in its totality. In the way that up only makes sense with down. Inside with outside. Night with day. Death with life.
The thought that death is always nearby often has two reactions. It is either mobilising or immobilising. The tangible sense of being alive rushed into me. I was alive right now, but it wasn’t always going to be that way.
I’ll be dead for much longer than I’ll ever be alive.
Act as if I knew death was just around the corner.
What would I want to have said, done, completed, shared, experienced, learned, explored, achieved, contributed and left behind to enrich the lives of others?
Years later I set up a macabre scene by my bedside when I lived alone. A ceramic skull sat on the edge of my desk. I drew up a speech bubble for it that said “You ain’t dead yet, so get livin’! - Yours sincerely Death.”
It sat on my desk in a place where it would be the first thing that I would see when I awoke in the morning.
It now sits right in front of me, watching me as I work, write songs, practice. It also makes a sneaky appearance in the official music video for You've Got Your Life. See if you can spot it.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Did this painting conjure up any thoughts and feelings?
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GOLDEN MOMENT by Mijo Biscan
Listen to the full album here.