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Thrill seekers - The transience of earthly pleasures

The latest group show organised by All Visual Arts sees artists such as the Chapman Brothers, Polly Morgan and Paul Fryer contributing works looking at the impermanence of pleasure when viewed from the perspective of death.

Conceived and curated by Joe La Placa and Mark Sanders of All Visual Arts, the exhibition is a contemporary update on the four hundred year old theme of the Vanitas first developed in Holland and Northern Europe in the mid to late 17th century.

In the 17th century, Vanitas paintings were considered to be both beautiful objects and works of spiritual contemplation concerned with taking pleasure in the face of death.

Click here or on the image to see works from the exhibition

The most immediate and universal symbol of mortality in the Vanitas tradition is the human skull but other objects also held special significance as references to the passing of time and fragility of human existence. Books, candles, hourglasses, mirrors, flowers, insects, soap bubbles and shadows all combined to create a symbolism suggestive of the transience of life. In the current show 'Vanitas: The Transience of Earthly Pleasures', All Visual Arts explores all facets of the Vanitas tradition, displaying original works dating back to the 17th century alongside painting and sculpture from 27 international contemporary artists.

The exhibition will take place in the the former Sierra Leone Embassy on 33 Great Portland Street during this year’s Frieze Art Fair from October 11-17.