Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof: Monento Mori

6 June - 11 September 2007

Leading gemstone artist, Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof presented twenty-three semi precious, intricately hand-sculpted life-size skulls. Momento Mori is a Latin phrase, loosely translated as 'remember you will die'. It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another but share the same purpose, to remind people of their own mortality. Over a duration of two years, von Zadora-Gerlof painstakingly sourced and sculpted the gemstones, ranging from Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Green Jade and Rock Crystal amongst others, a process he describes as a battle between man and stone; the stone resisting the attempts to alter its eternal form.


"von Zadora-Gerlof's series stands out as a set of encounters between the powerful image of the human skull and the properties of twenty-three minerals which represent its inside. Detached from the conventional symbolism of death and brevity these works invite poetic analogies between the emotions, thoughts and images produced by the complex machinery housed by real skulls and the colours, textures, veins, transparencies and opacities of gems older than humanity." - Françiois Quviger.


Born in 1957 into a family of Baltic aristocrats, von Zadora-Gerlof spent his childhood on the Queen Charlotte Islands. A hunting accident at the age of twelve almost paralysed his right hand and, as therapy, he began to study the techniques of Haida totemic art. Today, Zadora leads a world-class workshop making everything from fine jewellery to sculptures, and his work is held in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, the Middle and Far East.