In 1995, U.K.-based artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a difficult diagnosis and disease for anyone, but before his death in 2007, Utermohlen created a heart-wrenching final series of self-portraits over a roughly 5-year period documenting the gradual decay of his mind due to this crippling disease.
An essay by the artist’s widow Patricia explains perfectly exactly why these images are so powerful; “In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness.” It’s hard to say whether the changes in his portraits came about due the loss of his artistic skills or due to changes in his psyche but, in either case, they document the emotional turmoil of an artist watching his mind slip away from him bit by bit.
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