Memento comburo by Sarah Waxman

Published on June 4, 2012


“Memento Comburo” takes inspiration from Memento Mori paintings, which featured human skulls being contemplated by individuals or as part of still lifes. They served as reminders of human mortality and were a warning against frivolity. “Memento Comburo” aims to provide a similar service and remind the consumer of the produced nature of everything they take in. These ceramic vessels take form cues from casting molds, reminding the consumer of the manufactured nature of everything consumed.

As Sarah says: These pieces were designed with the consumer culture in mind. When studying abroad in 2009, people would tell me, “Americans have no culture… all they do is buy things!”

This was sort of like a slap in the face because whether this is true or not, this is, apparently, how other cultures perceive us (Americans)! So these pieces are a reminder to my fellow Americans- or maybe just to all rabid consumers out there- to take a step back and consider our appetite for consumption. Another thing I discovered while studying abroad was that ceramic casting molds are gorgeous objects in themselves. I was taking a casting class in my exchange school and was continually fascinated by the “accidental” beauty of these objects that were created for purely a functional use. Memento Comburo celebrates the overlooked beauty of the casting mold. The name- Memento Comburo- is a take on the Memento Mori paintings that once served as “reminders of mortality”. Similarly, Memento Comburo serves as a “reminder of consumption”. When using these vessels that resemble industrial manufacturing objects, the individual/consumer is reminded that everything he or she uses is a manufactured product.

Sarah Waxman


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