Barion painted this work after he read Jean Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death (1976). In this book Baudrillard identifies this symbolic exchange in its purest form in death: “life given over to death: the very operation of the symbolic.” This communication between life and death has been lost in modern, capitalist societies, which categorically exclude death and the dead and conceive of life only as one great process of accumulation. For example, in contemporary society the cemetery has moved outside the city borders, far away from where people can be confronted with the dead. By excluding the experience of death in life, one does not live life authentically and to the fullest.
Barion represents in this painting a cemetery somewhere in Florence. The cemetery is right outside the church in the heart of the city, close to life. Barion ponders upon the position of death within a society with transhuman ambitions. The representation of the Florence graveyard has been minimalized to a few blocks. It looks like a chessboard, on which the graves move back and forth like chess pieces.