Crazy Coffins Crazy Coffins
Crazy Coffins
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Frank Hellwig


11. June 2005 – 11. September 2005

Crazy coffins from England

The Museum for Sepulchral Culture Kassel is the first German museum to show coffins that are likely to be the craziest in Europe. A total of 16 "Crazy Coffins" by the traditional English coffin manufacturer Vic Fearn & Co. Ltd. (Nottingham and Isle of Wight) are presented, including "The Guitar", "The Skateboard", "The Ballet Shoe", "The Egg", "The Canal Boat" and "The Skip". These coffins are not only named that way, but look exactly that way – just like a guitar, a skateboard, a ballet shoe, an egg, a canal boat or a garbage container.

Anyone who thinks that these are products of English humor or pure art objects is mistaken. Most of the exhibits are privately commissioned works and are actually intended for the "last journey". The "Crazy Coffins" sometimes refer to the professional activity, sometimes to the hobbies or special interests of their clients. They are therefore a very unusual last expression of the personality of the deceased.

The majority of the coffins shown are reproductions, because the originals are already used as final resting places or have been delivered to the customers for whom they will one day serve as such. Others are designs, such as "The Kite" (a coffin alienated as a kite that seems to glide through the air), "The Wicker Man" (a coffin made of wickerwork with a shape reminiscent of a mummy) or the so-called "Red Bull" coffin, which is coated with beverage cans of the same name.

The "Crazy Coffins" are exceptional phenomena of a coffin culture that has hardly changed at all for several centuries, even in the British Isles. In Great Britain as in Germany and many other (European) countries, however, more and more people have been looking for alternatives to the traditional funeral service for some years now. So far, the "Crazy Coffins" have been shown in various museums and galleries in England and Ireland, as well as in Rotterdam. Consequently, their presentation in the Museum for Sepulchral Culture is a German premiere.

"Crazy Coffins – Crazy Coffins from England" is the final part of the exhibition trilogy Sargx3, which began with the cultural history of the coffin "Totenruhe – Totentruhe – Särge aus vier Jahrhunderten" (Deadly Rest – Deadly Chest – Coffins From Four Centuries) last fall. This was followed by a show on the phenomenon of miniature and viewing coffins under the title "Transience for the vest pocket" in spring 2005 and now comes to a close with "Crazy Coffins".


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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
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz