Life Sign – Grave Sign Life Sign – Grave Sign
Life Sign – Grave Sign
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Frank Hellwig


25. April 2004 – 1. August 2004

Cabinet Exhibition

Eleven objects from the Ecumenical Church Congress Berlin 2003   

It takes a good portion of courage to have one's grave sign designed during one's lifetime. But during the 1st ecumenical church congress in Berlin eleven people dared to do so. Between May 28 and July 1 2003, they had eleven sculptors design their future gravestones. The results of this experiment will be exhibited on the terrace of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture, Kassel, from April 24 to August 1.

In 2002, following the Sunday service for the dead, the exemplary project "Memento Mori / Signs of Life – Gravestones" began in the Chapel of Reconciliation, Berlin. Eleven artists – stone sculptors, wood and metal designers – were looking for open-minded people who were willing to design their personal life and gravestones together with them. The resulting designs were realized on the grounds of the Chapel of Reconciliation during the 1st Ecumenical Church Congress from May 28 to June 1, 2003: very personal, individual monuments, which, initially erected in the house or garden during one's lifetime, can be transferred to the cemetery as grave markers after death and possibly serve as souvenirs for the bereaved in private surroundings once again after the end of the period of lay-up.

The goal formulated by Michael Spengler, initiator of the project, to remind people of their earthly finiteness during their lifetime by means of the sign of life and to discuss shape and design with them, shows the proximity of the project to the special exhibition "sterben kommt" ("Dying is Coming") shown at the same time in the Museum for Sepulchral Culture, which is given a further facet by the works shown on the museum terrace. In addition, in view of the trend away from the well-kept and marked grave to the low-maintenance, unmarked grave, the project sets a clear signal for a new, alternative and contemporary examination of one's own grave during one's lifetime.


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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