In Shoufay Derz’s moving image work Depart without return silk moths crawl across a face painted in deep indigo blue. Performed by the artist herself, this event is looped and presented as an infinite present.

The movement of the moths, who live their short lives blind and unable to fly, is mesmerising and hypnotic. Through the simplicity of both medium and motive, Derz creates a contemporary vanitas image – a meditation on mortality and the inevitable passage of time. For Derz, death and mortality – the ultimate unknown and universal certainty – is the one unknown most worthy of creative reflection.



Depart without return short-circuits nostalgia for the present moment
Andrew Frost



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Shoufay Derz, Depart without Return, 2011, HD video, looped, duration 2.20 mins, Courtesy the artist