This morning to Bruges, to the Groeninge Museum to listen to a lecture given by Laurent Busine,  Director of MAC’s at Le Grand Hornu, and curator of an exhibition that opened today at the Hospitaalmuseum, Tant d’amours et tant de larmes. The exhibition is an essay on mortality, with works of art from various periods illustrating one of Busine’s central arguments, that the representation of death differs from society to society, and that of grief and pain from culture to culture, but somehow these experiences and sentiments also transcend any particular culture or society and so always bring us into the commonality of humanity. The stars of the show are, without a doubt, ‘Les pleurants‘, a set of 15 century carved alabaster mourners that normally stand sentinel around the base of the tomb of Philippe le Hardi in Dijon. The  craftsmen who sculpted these exquisite figures took great pride in the interior detail of folds in robes and faces under hoods that they knew (or thought they knew) nobody would ever see.  Now, we can admire the loving work of these anonymous geniuses. The lecture, like the exhibition, shifted to Giacometti and on to various representations of mortality, or intimations of mortality. It ends, beautifully, poignantly, evocatively, enigmatically, with David Claerbout’s The Long Goodbye. In his lecture, Laurent Busine summarised its magic brilliantly. When the woman senses the viewer’s/viewers’ presence and waves at us as night suddenly, rapidly falls we will never know whether she has had a pre-sentiment of her own mortality or of ours, or whether she will pre-decease us or survive us. But what is just as certain as our births is that we will all die.