Monday, December 12, 2016


                        Emily Jordan Boxer (a)

Ashes to ashes, ashes to art. Only Heide Hatry could have dared to confront (and collaborate with) eons of belief systems and taboos to produce these evocative portraits of mortality and its mirror image.
Lucy R. Lippard (art critic, curator, activist) 

                                             John Bernard Boxer (a)

Artist Heide Hatry understands the fundamental human desire to have the dead with us always – as image, as memory, as physical remnant. Her portraits made from the ashes of the deceased are haunting modern-day relics, poignant to any viewer, virtually sacred to those who knew and loved the departed. Each is a compelling likeness, a personal shrine. 
Richard Vine (art critic, managing editor of Art in America) 

                                                        James Otis Purdy (b)
In establishing new relations between the formerly unrelated – the essence of creation – Hatry found a contemporary formulation of the memento mori that has pervaded art since the very beginning of culture.
Wolf Singer (director at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt)

                                                                 Roberto Guerra (a)

The exhibition is particularly relevant and timely in light of the Vatican's response on October 25th to what it called an "unstoppable increase" in cremation and its issuance of guidelines barring the scattering of ashes "in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way."  The Vatican decreed that the ashes of loved ones have 
no place in the home, and certainly not in jewelry. While the Vatican was silent on the use of ashes in painting, we can assume that Hatry's work falls outside its newly articulated "canonical norms" and within its idea "unfitting or superstitious practices."

                                                 David A. Petracca (a)

The project is accompanied by the book publication, Heide Hatry: Icons in Ash, in which twenty-seven contributing authors, including Siri Hustvedt, Lydia Millet, Rick Moody, Mark Dery, Peter Weibel, Eleanor Heartney, Steven Pinker, Hans Belting, Wolf Singer, and Luisa Valenzuela have offered a multiplicity of perspectives on the human relationship to death. These cover a wide range of  topics, from art history through anthropology, psychology, philosophy, semiotics, ecology, and beyond, as well as discussing death taboos, post-mortem practices, personal experience, the impact of the relic and more. A social, deeply humanistic, and an aesthetic project, Icons in Ash, proposes an alternative to the way we see and interact with death, in particular a radically different approach to mourning and consolation, as well as to how we understand the purpose of art at its most fundamental level.

 Germaine A.A. Charbonneau (a)

The exhibition can be viewed from December 8, 2016 to March 7, 2017 at Ubu Gallery, which is located at 416 East 59th Street in Manhattan. 

An opening reception will be held on December 13, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30PM.

24 portraits will be on display – most are not for sale. But Heide Hatry will be accepting commissions for ash portraits, for which a photograph of the subject and a small amount of his or her ashes are required.

For further information or images, please contact Ubu Gallery at 212 753 4444 or


                             Lena Sereda



(exceptions to opening hours may occur, but they will be posted in advance at

1 comment:

  1. Heide Hatry: Icons in Ash

    December 8, 2016 – March 7, 2017

    Opening Reception: December 13, 2016

    Ubu Gallery is pleased to announce the debut exhibition of Heide Hatry's extraordinary new body of work, Icons in Ash (Cremation Portraits). The portrayal of the human image arose many millennia ago precisely for the
    purpose of keeping the dead among us. Not just in memory, but in charged ceremonial objects that were intended to embody and preserve their spirits for their survivors and for the community as a whole. It was a way of integrating the inexplicable fact of death into life, of insuring that the dead and what they meant
    stayed present and abided in us. Heide Hatry, an intellectually challenging German visual artist working in New York, has created a new technique and purpose for portraiture, employing actual human ashes to create meditative images of deceased people, either at their own behest or that of their families.

    The project arose as a personal response to death, but over the eight years Hatry has been thinking about her own experience and the general social attitude toward death in the West, it developed into a practice that she has shared with others, and finally now with the world at large.