29. January 2005 – 17. April 2005
Hardly anything is as moving as the encounter with death. But hardly anything happens as secretly today as dying. Detached from family and everyday life, death and dying have become tabooed experiences in our society. The journalist Beate Lakotta and the photographer Walter Schels asked terminally ill people to accompany them during their last days and weeks. These encounters resulted in sensitive portraits of people who are very attached to their death.
Well over 50,000 visitors saw the exhibition, which was conceived as a travelling show, in the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden in the fall of 2004. As a second station, the Museum for Sepulchral Culture presents the photo exhibition from January 29 to March 13, 2005.
The exhibition shows large-format black and white photographs taken shortly before and immediately after the death of the people portrayed. It tells of the experiences, fears, and hopes of the dying and allows them to speak out once again. Most of the twenty-four people portrayed spent their last years in a hospice. Hospices are places where the dying live. They offer the seriously ill the opportunity to spend the end of their lives as painlessly and consciously as possible. Those who move there know that they will not return to their home. They have to say goodbye and do not have much time left to settle personal matters. Only a short span of time remains to take stock, to make peace with oneself and others, to deal with death and with the question of what happens afterwards. And yet there is hardly a person without hope: for a few more days, for dying with dignity, or that death may not be the end of everything.
For over a year Walter Schels and Beate Lakotta worked for this exhibition in the dense atmosphere of the hospices, concentrating on the essentials.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0