Icons in Ash: Human Portraits

Icons in Ash: Human Portraits232 Seiten Verlag Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.


The art of the human image arose millennia ago as a way beyond impermanence and, especially, to keep the dead among us. The pictorial object – the icon – often carried a charge as ritual or ceremonial artifact and, indeed, as a thing with a certain power. The artist Heide Hatry has extended this tradition by creating realistic portraits made out of the actual ashes of the departed person portrayed. Are the results reminiscent of ancient sacred and secular traditions and their complex, even mysterious function to, say, calm, enrich or transform our experience? Icons in Ash includes twenty of Hatry’s portraits and twenty-seven contemporary writers who explore this phenomenon in original and engaging meditations on death, the dead body, art, relics, psychology, philosophy, religion, mourning, evolution, transformation, and immortality.

Heide Hatry, New York-based German artist, is often described as a neo-conceptualist. Her work transcends, transgresses, or transforms the normal relationship of the artist to both audience and work. Among her fundamental preoccupations are identity, gender roles, the nature of aesthetic experience and the meaning of beauty, the human exploitation of the natural world, and the effects of knowledge upon perception.


Heide Hatry Icons in Ash: From Art Object to Art Subject

Gavin Keeney Negation and Return

John Wronoski The Good Death: Some Reflections on the Philosophical Apprehension of Death in the West

Marc Pachter A Conversation with Heide Hatry


Hans Belting
Image and Death: Embodiment in Early Cultures

Michaël Amy
The Ones Who are Left Behind: A Short History of Lamentation in Western Art

Eleanor Heartney
Corruptible Bodies: Catholic Morbidity

Adele Tutter
Melancholic Relics

Stanley B. Burns and Elizabeth A. Burns
Postmortem Photography in Europe and America

Deborah Lutz
Relics of Death

Anthony Haden-Guest
Art and Death

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
Art and the Many Ways the “Disenchanted Body is Enchanted Again and Again“

Thomas W. Laqueur
The Matter of Ashes

Phoebe Hoban
Death Strategies: Coping with Loss through Ritual and Art

Steven Pinker
Mind and Body, Form and Essence, the Unbearable and the Inconceivable

Wolf Singer
An Artist’s Reply to Evolution’s Impersonal Cynicism

Peter Weibel
Death and Life

George Quasha
Dead Talk

Mark Dery
Dead Religion

Rick Moody
Notes on Lazarus

Linda Weintraub
Death: An Eco-Centric Interpretation

Naief Yehya
The Pornography of Death, the Fading of Grief

Franz Josef Wetz
How Much Death Can Life Bear?

Siri Hustvedt
Stones and Ashes

Lydia Millet
From the Library of…

Jonas Mekas
Weegee’s and Maciunas‘ Ashes and Ginsberg’s Beard

Claudia Steinberg

Luisa Valenzuela
Ashes to Ashes? Not at All


Some Words about Technique and List of Portraits

Biographies of Authors