MOLLY RUSSELL ARTIST

'DEARLY DEPARTED'

Arch 402, Hoxton London

27th Sept - 4th Oct 2012

As seen on the Time Out London blog

Animal Coffins

A key turning point in Molly's childhood came when she was six years old and she saw her father's film, Mahler. Its notorious funeral scene - the window in the coffin and the composer's silently screaming face behind it, being burned alive - left an indelible impression on her young mind.

As Molly grew older, these nightmares turned into more intense phobias, focused particularly around the two fears that she had inherited from her father, of snakes and death.

"Before my father and grandfather both died last year," Molly recalls, "I had only ever been to animal funerals... The joy I've brought to the coffins was a way of dealing with these dark and fearful feelings I'd had. I was able to transform the darkness and morbidity into a playful, creative expression of fun and joy." The project has been developed in collaboration with JC Atkinson, the largest independent and most ethically sound coffin manufacturer in the UK.

Molly found that seeing the coffins being made in the factory environment engaged the mind in the process, gradually removing the element of fear. It became a way of normalising her response to death, allowing her to take ownership of her fears.

This process of distancing is emphasised by placing the animals in this distinctly human context, shaping their coffins in ways that combine extreme functionality with the gloriously absurd.