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BOOK REVIEW: The Mammoth Book Of Skulls edited by Ilya

| 31 January 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Mammoth Book Of Skulls edited by Ilya
Allen & Unwin
November 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The Mammoth Book Of Skulls cover

Editor Ilya has compiled a fascinating exploration of the iconography of the skull, from its use in fashion through to street art.

“Skulls are so in, they’re out,” she teases in her introductory essay, questioning, “could they be fulfilling a widespread cultural deathwish?” before concluding that “maybe skulls are huge for no other reason than they look just so damn HOT!” – and that’s hitting the nail on the head.

Skulls ARE cool. Death is the last frontier, the final line we cannot cross. To use skull icons in our everyday, perhaps we get as close to that adventure as we safely can?

So Ilya sends us on a trip to see skulls in traditional and more ethereal artistic installations. Skulls are painted, screen printed, carved, knitted and sculpted (pun intended). Skulls are created using video cassette tape, skateboards, trick photography, and made out of bread. There’s medieval skulls, Nazi skulls, animal skulls, cartoon skulls and many more.

The common thread they have is of the infinite versatility of the skull itself. We all have one. We all must protect it at all costs. So to display another on our wall, wear one on our back or our finger, or view one in an art gallery, appeals to the dark side in us all.


Category: Book Reviews

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