Ars Morendi – Yourcenarian suicides
a video by Maria Korporal
For the creation of Ars Morendi Maria Korporal has researched in depth the works of Marguerite Yourcenar and more in particular the way she deals with the theme of death. The result of this investigation is a video in three parts, each of these dedicated to a Yourcenarian suicide: Antinous, Mishima and Zeno.
Ars Morendi, or the art of dying well, is a crucial subject in Yourcenar’s work. In her essay Mishima: A Vision of the Void, we read: “There are two kinds of human beings: those who keep death out of their thoughts to live better and more freely, and those who, on the contrary, feel their existence more wisely and more strongly when they watch for the signals death gives through out senses or the hazard of of the external world.” Without any doubt Yourcenar belongs to the second kind. The last, memorable, sentence of Memoirs of Hadrian: “Let us try to enter into death with open eyes...” can be considered as a confirmation of this idea.
Therefore Ars Morendi can also be taken as a dedication to life. The Yourcenarian suicides are not unsuccesful or desperate, but strong and vital human beings, who choose to put an end to their lives being at the summit of their existence. Maria Korporal’s video represents precisely the final moments in which the protagonist reaches the enchantment of total perfection. For Antinous this is beauty, for Mishima force and for Zeno wisdom.