DEATH BE KIND, Elvis Richardson, Claire Lambe





death be kind at melbourne art fair


The Collector's Edition

August 1 - 5 Melbourne Art Fair

Naomi Eller, Danielle Hakim, Mark Hislop, Jess Johnson, Callum Perry, Simon Schreuele, Nat Thomas

Stall A51 (level 2)
ER: 0401346520
CL: 0448 381 651

Email to receive digital catalogue

DEATH BE KIND is an artist-run project, established in June 2010 by artists Claire Lambe and Elvis Richardson.

For the project space at Melbourne Art Fair DEATH BE KIND are pleased to present a selection of works by seven artists who exhibited at the gallery over the past two years. Titled The Collectors Edition this exhibition explores ideas of collecting via the artist and the muse, excited visions of the future and detailed documentation of the past: Naomi Eller, Danielle Hakim, Mark Hislop, Jess Johnson, Callum Perry, Simon Schreuele and Nat Thomas.

DEATH BE KIND project creates exhibitions where understandings of death is the context that the gallery walls build upon. Death and its mysteries have provided meaning for the experience of art for millenia, DEATH BE KIND exhibitions have explored the aesthetics of horror, the afterlife, the memorial and the museum display of collections. Death is a certainty in all our lives; as soon as we are born we are capable of dying. DEATH BE KIND collects together ideas about memories and fears, acceptance and hope to explore the relationships between art and death.



6pm Saturday 19th May 2012

The rest is silence

with performances by Morgan Fayle, The infinite Decimals and other special guests and surprises

This 112 page full colour book contains images by artists who participated in The rest is silence exhibition at DEATH BE KIND as well as images by artists from around the world, past and present, who have contributed to the skull art canon.

107 artists contributed to this publication including Sarah Lucas, Patricia Picinini, Fiona Hall, Callum Morton, Tina Havelock-Stevens, Catherine Bell, Danie Mellor, Ronnie Van Hout, Alex Rizkalla, Michael Zavros, Robyn Stacey, Jamie Reid, Nat Thomas, Erwin Wurm, David Shrigley, Toby Pola, Luke Parker, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Paul Rodgers, Patrick Pound, Julia deVille, Jan Fabre and many many more.

Essays by Christine Schmidt, Helen Hughes, Helen MacDonald, Jess Kelly and David McInnes and Elvis Richardson.

Book designed by Andrew Hurle.

DEATH BE KIND is a curatorial and gallery project by artists Claire Lambe and Elvis Richardson.

SATURDAY 19 May 6pm
Upstairs @ The Alderman
134 Lygon Street, Brunswick VIC 3056





gallery project

closed on

11 DECEMBER 2011



the rest is silence DEATH BE KIND
See list of artists in the show


"The rest is silence"

8 November - 11 December 2011

Participating Artists

The last days of the DEATH BE KIND gallery project are drawing near and our final show with over 100 artists The rest is silence opens on Tuesday 8 November.

The exhibitions title "The rest is silence”, are the dramatic last words uttered by Hamlet in the final act of Shakespeare’s celebrated play, and perchance apropos for DEATH BE KIND’s concluding show to an eighteen month program of curated exhibitions about death by Claire Lambe and Elvis Richardson.

While the subject of death as an enduring theme in art and culture will never rest in peace, has death’s iconic poster child – the skull, become disoriented as the established signifier of human mortality? The skull can be found adorning a child’s flannelette pyjama set, or shaped into a glass bong, or encrusted with diamonds by a famous artist, but can we see past the cliché and still respect the message?

"The rest is silence" exhibition has been conceived to create a mass object of skulls as an experiential installation where the gallery space becomes a catacomb or a funerial skull cave if you will. Accompanying the exhibition is a printed book that captions the stories behind the skulls and celebrates and critiques the proliferation of skulls in contemporary art and culture.

Perhaps this very plethora of skulls is necessary in our contemporary lives to iterate the reminder, ‘life is finite’. Maybe the skull is in concert with the white noise of environmental, economic and social crisis and damage that auto tune the soundtrack of our everyday lives.

And death is a certainty in all our lives; as soon as we are born we are capable of dying. DEATH BE KIND gallery project has collected together ideas, memories, fears, humour and hope to explore the rich relationships between art and death.

Please join us as we close the book on this last chapter and face the final curtain, with an exhibition and a publication “The rest is silence” Death and the skull in contemporary art.

The Rest is Silence: Death and the skull in contemporary art will be launched in February 2012. The book includes skull images and stories by the 100 artists in the show, plus more skull images from near and far, a collection of essays by Christine Schmidt, Helen Macdonald, David McInnes and Helen Huges and introduction by Claire Lambe and Elvis Richardson.

To order a copy of the book visit:



Suzanne Treister


The fates at play

Naomi Eller

27 September - 18 October 2011

DEATH BE KIND is very pleased to present HEXEN 2.0 by London based artist Suzanne Treister.

Treister is a pioneer in digital and new media making work using video, the Internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing and watercolour. Past work has visioned a 'brave new world', merging the virtual and the real, fact and fiction, engaging with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identity and knowledge.

HEXEN 2.0 draws on diverse historical and contemporary information from philosophy, the counterculture, science and science fiction, cybernetics, government and military systems as a means of understanding the world we now inhabit. A Tarot Deck forms the major part of HEXEN 2.0, offering the possibility to symbolically challenge and reconfigure these frameworks. This reimagining casts shadows of doubt on what is or could be, and creates a space for reflection and construction of hypothetical future narratives.



death be kind, smoking gun, jess johnson, jordan marani, sarah goffman, andrew hurle


Smoking Gun

30 August - 18 September 2011

Jess Johnson, Jordan Marani
Colleen Ahern, Thomas Breakwell, Sarah Goffman, Andrew Hurle, Andrew Liversidge, Jordan Marani, Toby Pola, Salote Tawale

DEATH BE KIND are pleased to host artists Jess Johnson and Jordan Marani, co-founders of the infamous Hell Gallery. Both artists have been collaborating together for a number of years. Their projects, whilst comprising of their individual art practices, share the same playground forged from their experiences together overseeing the Hell domain.

Jess Johnson’s intricate felt tip drawings are colorful apertures into agitated psychological states. Incorporating found texts sourced from mass media and true crime, such as “I wish the whole world was a neck and I had my hands around it” (the last words offered by serial killer Carl Panzram as he was led to his execution). Others incorporate dubious truisms for living, passed down through family generations, “If ya don’t go to school ya wont get a job if ya don’t get a job ya don’t work ya don’t work ya don’t eat if ya don’t eat ya don’t shit ya don’t shit ya die”.

Jordan Marani (whilst on recent residency in Liverpool, UK) has produced a prolific deluge of floating portraits, painted on local newsprint. The idiosyncratic cartoon mug shots form a large crowd that hover like ghosts within the gallery space, spewing cartoon speech bubbles that ask plaintive questions and offer ill advise.

In the office space, DEATH BE KIND in collaboration with Danielle Hakim, have curated a show about the poisoned chalice of smoking. Danielle writes;

Smoking when it comes down to it is rebelling against life. You’re killing your self. And you know it. You're holding the smoking gun; your cigarette. Maybe so many artists smoke precisely because it is rebellious, defiant, an active symbol of transgression.



death be kind


Trophy wife
Grieving widows

2nd - 21st August 2011

Trophy wife curated by Sarah Jones with Mish Meijers, Tom Polo, Elvis Richardson
Grieving widows curated by DBK with John Brooks, Helen Pallikaros, Jacquie Read

Curator Sarah Jones brings some misplaced ambition to Death Be Kind with a group of artists Mish Meijers, Tom Polo and Elvis Richardson. Sarah Jones writes;

Symbolic of that which we seek to possess but can never really own, the trophy wife’s potence exists only in a public realm. She embodies all that one wants to own and control. She is desire. To have her sit beside you, displayed, is victorious - but only if someone is watching. Without the desire of others, the coveted object must be shelved, destined to collect dust. A ‘voodoo-esque’ reminder of an end; she becomes a memorial of death.

DBK have curated the exhibition in the office space as a response to trophy wife through an exploration of materials associated with the body with artists John Brooks, Helen Pallikaros, Jacquie Read. Jade Bitar writes;

The trophy wife represents the fantasy, something unreal and unattainable; they parade and seduce. The grieving widow represents reality, halted in an incident and regardless of involvement, the label is given and they must succumb to this role. There is a deranged beauty in both the widow and the trophy wife as they are the suffering that fills a gap of what was present in the past but no longer exists. As the trophy wife’s role is of vacancy, the widow wants only to be vacant, but instead is bound within memories and failures, contradictions of life, death and loss. If the trophy wife is the replacement, then the grieving widow is the irreplaceable.





5th July - 24 July 2011

Catherine Bell, Michael Needham,
& Alarma! curated by Tony Garifalakis with Artemio, Ruben Gutierrez, Manuel Mathar, Maria Alos, Cristian Franco, Edgar Cobian, Felipe Manzano, Joaquin Segura, Daniela Edburg, Eduardo Abaroa, Ilan Lieberman

Evidence of Absence at DEATH BE KIND in an exhibition of works where death is assimilated via ghastly consumption, melancholic digestion, and prodigious excretion. Catherine Bell triggers feelings of abstract abhorrence by filling the gallery space with a sea of thousands of hand-made pellets of rat shit, which the audience is compelled to pass through.

Stemming from Bell's own horror at discovering rats living in her studio (a fact witnessed by the faecal visiting cards left behind by the rodents) this work plays on the complexities of scale and the emotional response to matter experienced en masse.

While a single innocuous pellet would barely warrant a second glance, this flooding of the space with ordure invokes a deep revulsion because in viewing it we are forced to contemplate the sheer number of rats it would take to create this mess, and suddenly the gallery is haunted with a smell, the sound sharp teeth devouring everything in reach and the scratching of hundreds of sharp claws scampering across the floor. These imaginings carry with them the miasma of disease and squalor, the black death, and the disquieting feeling of unwelcome visitors.





Through a glass darkly

10th May - 25th May 2011

Julie Davies, Dani Hakim, Colette Male, Simon Pericich, Alex Rizkalla, Juliet Rowe, Sadie Walters

The sacred and the sublime are concepts that become possible through the attempt to come to terms with what is confronting, disturbing or difficult to represent. The beauty found within suffering fills the gap between the uttered and the unutterable, between knowledge and articulation and between seeing and believing. Through a glass darklyoriginates in Corinthians 13 in the Old Testament Bible. This popular phrase has been re-used often to convey ideas that the view is blurred, the reflection is dim, things are not exactly clear.   



It's about time

10th May - 29th May 2011

Alex Gawronski, Mark Hislop, Elvis Richardson

It's about time presents the work of Alex Gawronski Mark Hislop and Elvis Richardson. Each of these artists returns to consider in a fairly specific way, the original evocativeness of the gallery title ‘Death be Kind’. It's about time is familiar as an exclamation upon arrival that implies an impatient wait.

As one of the founders of ‘Death be Kind’ Elvis Richardson has a long-standing interest in themes of the longevity and precariousness of artistic ‘fame’. Her work for this particular exhibition centres on a series of anagrams derived from the phrase ‘Important Artist’. The wordplay that results is simultaneously playful, absurd and vaguely sinister. Actually, in this case Richardson’s concern is with the sort of hyperbole associated with the endemic inflation of the famous artist’s public reputation and persona. Her text pieces broadly parody the sorts of conspiracy theories so popular in the mass media. Through such conspiracies the suggestible are encouraged to read the most exaggerated importance into otherwise conspicuously prosaic events and objects.




12th April - 1st May 2011

Jeanette Becklar, Stephen Garratt, Scott Donovan, Nat Thomas

Nevermore begins with what has gone before.The artists in this exhibition extract narratives from collected materials, both literal and theatrical, and intriguingly displayed in the gallery space.

Jeanette Becklar's work Sleep (for Mrs Mason) uses a large collection of deaccessioned library books with the word 'death' in the title, creating arrangements that re-inscribe their own end-story. Stephen Garrett uses plaster and cardboard to examine the gallery's concepts through forensic traces and recreated models collectively titled What Came Before.

Scott Donovan’s suite of moody portraits Bad Blood, were painted from photographs of the 1960 Oberammergau Passion Play, an elaborate re-enactment of the last days of Christ performed every ten years since 1634.

Nat Thomas's work Yesterday's News creates a research laboratory in the gallery office space. Thomas displays and explores media stories she has selected from microfiche surfing in the Victorian State Library. History never repeats, I tell myself before I go to sleep



DEATH BE KIND exquisite corpse, luke parker sangeeta sandrasegar, louis porter


Exquisite Corpse

15th March - 3rd April 2011

Luke Parker, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Louis Porter

Exquisite Corpse the exhibition is a meeting place between the aesthetics of the fictional and the real, centred around the narrative of the body. Parker and Sandrasegar's visual narratives conjure the body politic via collaborative collages with global references and Porter brings together images of the corpse, both photographed and collected from his taxonomical project The Porter Archive.





15th February - 6th March 2011

Raphael Buttonshaw, Brent Harris, Helen Johnson, Andrew McQualter, Joshua Petherick, Dioni Salas, Kate Smith

Opening 6pm Tuesday 15 February 2011

Curated by Helen Johnson
The initiation of this exhibition arose from an interest in 'the end of painting' and, more specifically, what it means to be working as a painter in a contemporary context, with some distance from the narratives of modernism. It is grounded in the consideration of all the baggage, debates and difficulties becoming a part of the medium itself - what can be done today with all of this stuff? Not least the narrative of 'the end' that was never really actuated; which is to say, what is being thought is painting as a symbolic space rather than a specific medium, with an understanding of the historical narratives
of painting as having participated in the production of that space.



Three Thousand

Monumental Effect

30th November - 19st December 2010

Alex Rizkalla, Catherine Clover, Ceri Hann, Claire Lambe, Dani Hakim, David Lawrey & Jaki Middleton, Deborah Kelly, Elvis Richardson, Greg Richards, Louise Paramor, Michael Needham, Nana Ohnesorge, Nat Thomas, Nikos Pantazopoulos, Nick Waddell, Nicki Wynnychuk, Raafat Ishak, Raquel Ormella, Sadie Chandler, Sarah CrowEST, Sarah Goffman, Simon Zoric, Stephen Garrett, Toby Pola, Veronica Kent and in the office space Jane Brown

The works in MONUMENTAL EFFECT occupy the space on top of twenty-six grey plinth/stelae arranged in a skewed grid formation in the gallery space. Lest we forget the numerous war memorials in Australia that occupy prime public space in our cities, suburbs and towns.  Here the miniature reconfigures the monumental in intimate personal scale.  



Paradise is where I am

3rd November - 21st November 2010

Victor Georgopoulos, Sally Mannall, Rod McNicol

“… paradise is where I am” is the final line of the poem The Worldly One by Voltaire (1736) and the title of this exhibition that brings together three distinct bodies of work that each touch upon experiences of anticipation, fear and ones own mortality.

Voltaire uses reason with satire to argue that happiness is a state of mind fixed on the materiality of the present rather than a promised heavenly utopia located in the abstract of the ever after. “… paradise is where I am” is about the here and now, the vantage point from which we remember the past and imagine the future.


Three Thousand

The Monk's Parlour

2nd October - 24 October 2010

Claire Lambe, Callum Perry, Lisa Young

‘The Monk’s Parlour’, a collaborative exhibition by Claire Lambe, Callum Perry and Lisa Young, threads together an idiosyncratic body of work that plays with history and museum methods of display to reflect on contemporary culture. The artworks feed off each other creating an energy and vitality that moves beyond referencing collectors, collections, or the individual object.

‘The Parlour contains a medley of objects, most, though by no means all, of a medieval character and intended to produce an atmosphere of studious gloom and to “impress the spectator with reverence for the monk’ (The Museum 2001:36)

Soane’s intentionally created a whimsical and quirky profile for this space that included a fictional character Padre Giovanni and the Monk’s Grave in the courtyard that contains the entombed remains of his late wife’s dog, Fanny. As a collector and museologist his approach to the accumulation and arrangement of objects was broad and seemingly lacked the clear themes, relationships or pedagogical value associated with traditional museum collections.




On life after death

4th September - 26 September 2010

Martha Mcdonald, Patrick Pound, Elizabeth Pulie

On life after death is an exhibition about imagining the unseeable. The title comes from a book by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross published in 1991, in which she examines cases of near death experiences and suggests there is no such thing as death. These ideas were a distinct departure from her earlier ground breaking book On Death and Dying where she first discussed what is now known as the five stages of death and grieving.

Tunnels of light, sparkling stars, areas of emptiness, eyes closed, eyes open, sitting, lying down, tears are drying over time. The life after death we encounter here visualizes the experience of looking at what we cannot normally see.

In Patrick Pounds clever categories of found photographs such as People that look dead but (probably) aren’t, Portrait of the wind and The photographers amongst others the photograph manages to record an un-memorable moment, the movement of air, and the person behind the camera's shadow.

Elizabeth Pulies paintings Death Of Art series one with dark backgrounds and circular motifs floating on a grid of square canvases create strange relections of each other and a changing configuration of shapes colours and lines into an unfamiliar pattern. The title of the work refers to the idea of an end game which in chess or art theory is to take something to its logical conclusion. The game must progress forward and therefore it must end if it is to have any conclusion at all.

Martha McDonalds portraits of grief show richly detailed surfaces where emotional stains soak the armour of mourning to leave their marks upon the skin.

Martha McDonald performs songs from the exhibition with Craig Woodward on fiddle, banjo and mandolin.
4pm Sunday 26th September 2010


Runway Magazine, Rosemary Forde, Review; On life after death


Bela Lugosi's dead

4 August - 26 August 2010

Carla Cescon, Tony Garifalakis, Simon Scheuerle

Our second show at DEATH BE KIND brings together artists Tony Garifalakis (Melb), Carla Cescon (Sydney), and Simon Schrueule (ACT) who have all established art practices that utilize well know tropes of horror and the grotesque. After the sacred sincerity of The Memorial’s interpretation of death and it effects us personally, Bela Lugos’s dead pushed the boundaries of the galleries theme in another direction to explore the profane and the ritualistic through the iconography of horror.


Around the Galleries, Dan Rule, The Age
Three Thousand
Not Quite Critics



The Memorial

Claire Lambe & Elvis Richardson

June 29-July 25 2010

For the first exhibition of DEATH BE KIND Claire Lambe and Elvis Richardson in collaboration present The Memorial an elaborate display-case housing a collection of beloved objects that once belonged to a deceased relative, friend, acquaintance or lover chosen by over 100 people from all walks of life who have kindly participated in this project and a zine catalogueing the objects.

The Memorial presentation is reminiscent of the small private museum and employs the language of display to create symbiotic dialogues through the relational placement of the works. A complex display case has been constructed so as to elevate the importance and meanings of the beloved objects and gently navigate the viewers experience of the gallery space.

The Memorial retells the stories behind the objects that we keep to evoke memory of the deceased, how these objects maintain ongoing relationship with the dead, and how these material possessions remain important in memory making. Each object has been documented and texts collected from the holder about their object to create a catalogue of texts that caption the objects personal meanings in a zine.

Zine also features writers Morgan Fayle, David Luker and Ruth Learner and artist Marina Lutz


The afterlife of ordinary things - Dylan Rainforth, The Age 25/6/2010
Helen Hughes reviews The Memorial in UN Magazine


Opening Hours

Friday 6-8pm
Saturday + Sunday 2-6pm
or by appointment
ER: 0401346520
CL: 0448 381 651

Upstairs @
134 Lygon Street
Brunswick VIC 3056