'Danse Macabre (small version)' is a monochrome grey sculpture of a fictitious merry-go-round. This work is a fully detailed, miniaturised version of the monumental, life-size installation ‘Danse Macabre’ that the artist created in 2021.
The ‘classic' carousel, as we still know it, is usually a baroque, brightly coloured and sparkling kitsch object that refers nostalgically to the times of yesteryear, when the attraction had little competition from all the current fairground commotion.
The soft grey colour of 'Danse Macabre (small version)' gives the carousel a petrified and inert appearance, as if it were a fossil, frozen in time. By removing all the colour, the carousel is stripped of its last layer of vibrancy.
Here, it is like a quiet, ash-covered remnant after a major fire.
The title 'Danse Macabre' alludes to the halted procession of carriages, horses and objects that refer to death, and the idea of the ‘memento mori’.
A family of human skeletons populates this tiny carousel: there is the skeleton of a rider who joyfully rides a prancing horse, another skeleton dressed as an elegant lady with a parasol and a long dress, a skeleton of a clown seated in a carriage, smoking a cigarette in a dandy like way, and a skeleton of a shy child who keeps a seal on a leash.
These absurd scenes refer to the surreality of the dream, but also the exuberant, festive way in which the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico. Everywhere between the carriages, horses, planes, air balloons and animals, the remains of a party are lying around: empty bottles and glasses, eaten slices of cake and pieces of fruit. This ‘dance of death' is like a party that has come to a standstill, between a festive memory and a haunting dream.