Beyond the norm Beyond the norm
Beyond the norm
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Frank Hellwig


4. July 1997 – 26. October 1997

Confrontations with the tomb

The question of a "tomb of tomorrow" was explored in a competition for sculptors by the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. Twenty-seven works were selected that break with the traditionally oriented cemetery culture in form and content and develop a formal language that contradicts the common idea of cemetery and tomb.

A first comparative look at the exhibited works shows that the broad-spectrum ranges from minimalist reduction to monumental tombs, and that the material, form and shape do not allow a clear separation between industrial design, art and handicraft. Parallel to economic and technological developments, artistic means of expression and design tendencies typical of the time are also reflected here.

Frequently changing materials have been used, which in their transience already contain becoming and passing by (e.g. wood). Other designs are borrowed in their formal language from the field of art and invite contemplation, poetry and silence, for example when the writing "Hic et Nunc" (Jörg Bollin, Freiburg) lights up from "nine similar granite bowls in blueish, restlessly flickering neon tubes". Few designs deal with the industrially manufactured tombs; they deliberately do not want to conceal the industrial production. Two gravestones take the modular system as their starting point, which offers a wide range of individual design possibilities (Marlies Poss/Munich, Ruth Lahrmann/Braunschweig). The wooden stele by Dirk Franz from Travemünde is different. As an individual monument, it establishes a direct connection to the deceased, as relatives and friends can design the wooden rings themselves.

The spectrum is wide, yet the question arises as to the extent to which expressive possibilities of design, art or handicraft are suitable to support the handling of mourning or to ease the grief.


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
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