27. May - 21. January 2018 Freiburg, Germany

LIFE AND DEATH

Exhibitions Dedicate Exhibitions to Existential Theme

News about someone’s death reminds us on a daily basis that dying is an inevitable and everyday occurrence. Yet death is not actually a part of life. All that can be said about it is that it lies beyond the scope of what people can communicate as an event or an experience.

Thus, for the living, death exists as an empty space about which we can but conjecture based on a series of collective intimations and fears. Every attempt to grasp death is destined to fail. As a result, it is not possible to talk about death as such, but more about the dying and the dead, as well as about the discourse surrounding the event.

Two museums in Freiburg, Germany, have now dedicated an entire exhibition to this existential theme. "Dying well – False death" at Museum für Neue Kunst discusses the revulsion to and fascination with death, the tendency to gloss over it all or the desire to get 'close and personal' with death in the form of the decaying body.

The artists behind these works seem to play with the idea of their own deaths or to anticipate it in their performances, to caricature it, to protest about it or simply deny it, to confront it or to objectify it factually.

The artists engage with the topic within the scope of their own work. Their motifs are as varied as the outcomes. On account of the outsourcing of the dying and deceased body, we are often deprived nowadays of transparency, a sense of naturalness and concreteness, which, by contrast, is addressed in the artworks.

Omnipresent and yet banished from our everyday world, death and dying are great unknowns. The exhibition "Dead Certain? Final Destination unknown" staged by the Museum Natur und Mensch focuses upon death from an ethnological, natural history and social point of view. What happens when life comes to an end?

What actually follows 'after-wards'? The exhibition casts light on the different ideas about, traditions relating to and ways of dealing with the ­nature of life. The show, which is suitable for families and children, also discusses current issues like organ donation and features interventions in the permanent natural history exhibition.

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