Death & Life-in-Death

By Brian Luong

Death and Life-in-Death is a collaboration between Brian Luong and Twin Serpents as a tribute to the great Gustave Doré. A few pieces by Doré were selected out of his extensive collection to be re-imagined by modern artists.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Are those her ribs through which the Sun Did peer, as through a grate? And is that Woman all her crew? Is that a DEATH? and are there two? Is DEATH that woman’s mate? Her lips were red, her looks were free, Her locks were yellow as gold: Her skin was as white as leprosy, The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she, Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a poem written in 1797-98 by Samuel Tylor Coleridge. The poem relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner’s tale begins when he and a crew of other sailors are driven south by a storm. They end up in Antarctica and an albatros leads them out of that icy barren sea.

While the other sailors praise the albatros, the ancient mariner shoots the birds and a curse falls upon them. The curse also brings two eerie characters into the lives of the sailors, Death and its bride, Life-in-Death. The two skeletal creatures bet the lives of the whole crew.

The two skeletal creatures bet the lives of the whole crew. Death wins the lives of the sailors and Life-in-Death wins the life of the mariner. All the bodies fall to the floor while in their eyes, the mariner could see the nightmare.

The game is done. I've won I've won

After seven days and seven nights the curse is lifted from the mariner and the souls of the faller sailors steer the ship back home.

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