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Evgeny Antufiev, Lubov' Nalogina.
Death

A pop-up book for children and adults about the cycle of life and death.

The fear of death is not ubiquitous in time and place. Death has been treated differently in different contexts, sometimes taken as a given, sometimes romanticised. There are countries—Mexico, for instance—where death is made into a celebration. And yet our fear of death is often so great that we do our best to look away and imagine it doesn’t exist.

Все фото: Дарья Избаш

Evgeny Antufiev is a Russian artist, a maker of objects and installations. Works by Antufiev are held in the collections of MMoMA (New York), Tate Modern (London), M HKA (Antwerp), Centre Pompidou (Paris), and MAMM (Moscow).

Lyubov Nalogina is a Russian artist and collector of antique toys. She is a graduate of Moscow State University of Printing Arts.

What is death? Psychologists recommend that we take a direct approach when talking to children about death, avoiding metaphors. And yet the problem is that we ourselves are often unable to give a straightforward answer to this question. The book in your hands is therefore a collection of our own fragmentary, and possibly erroneous, answers to this enigma. The only thing we do know for a fact is that nothing disappears in nature without leaving something behind; one season gives way to another, seedlings shoot up, flowers bloom, and the seeds fall onto the soil.

– Evgeny Antufiev, Lyubov Nalogina

The artists Evgeny Antufiev and Lyubov Nalogina created this book as a way of talking sensitively but openly about a topic that adults are often afraid of. Each page invites the reader to reflect on what death is and to make friends with it. Sometimes understanding a thing is all it takes in order for what had seemed frightening to be revealed as simple and natural.

Death is the sixth book in the series for children from V–A–C Press. The series takes its cue from Soviet traditions, when illustrators who designed books for children often also played a key role in the art movements of their time. The book contains interactive elements, pop-up constructions, tasks and games, and the text has a parallel translation into English.

The book was conceived in 2020, but its completion was held up by the Covid pandemic. Now is perhaps not an ideal time for publication. The world is changing in a lot of ways and the theme of death is painfully real. But books live in their own special space. Their time comes, if not now then later.

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