01. April – 17. September 2023
Opening 31. March 2023 | 6:00 pm
"Who among us does not know of moments in life when we wanted to be comforted?" (Jean-Pierre Wils)
The current special exhibition "Consolation – On the Trail of a Human Need" completes the exhibition trilogy on the topic of mourning and commemoration: "Lamento – Mourning and Tears" (2019); "Memento – In the Force Field of Memories" (2020).
The exhibition illuminates the phenomenon of consolation from various cultural, religious and artistic perspectives and reflects on how we can confront experiences of loss and the pain associated with them.
Traditionally, religions are considered a repository of consolation. Religious rituals and concepts give hope and support to both the dying and the bereaved. But people have also always sought and found comfort in literature, in the poetry of language, which can offer empathic comforting identification and connection. Likewise, this is true of music, which can transport us into healing resonances and other dimensions. Nature, encounters with animals, or mementos can also be companions through their presence in times of pain. Human togetherness, comforting conversations, closeness, and community often help to alleviate suffering.
Through contemporary artistic exhibits and cultural-historical artifacts, the exhibition provides visitors with aesthetic and sensory experiences as well as intellectual approaches to make the topic of consolation tangible in its complexity.
Presented are graphics, photographs, videos, audio and sound installations, and sculptural interventions by: Mulugeta Ayene (ETH), Nancy Borowick (USA), Nicola Brand-Distelhoff (DEU), Bazon Brock (DEU), EMPFANGSHALLE – Corbinian Böhm / Michael Gruber (DEU), Dirk Franz (DEU), Hamish Fulton (GBR), Jiaqi Hou (CHN), Cymene Howe (USA), Wolf von Kries (DEU), Alfons Mühlenbrock – Die Grüne Manufaktur (DEU), Terhi Nieminen (FIN), Mads Nissen (DNK), Christiane Rath (DEU), Kerstin Röhn (DEU), Jérémy Lempin (FRA), Gideon Mendel (ZAF), SCHAUM (DEU), THERE THERE Company (BEL), Oliver Vogt (DEU), Stefan Weiller (DEU)
In the series of interviews produced especially for the exhibition, experts from different fields of activity and cultures talk about their concrete experiences in the context of consolation: Louise Brown (journalist and mourning speaker, Hamburg), Viviane Clauss (death companion at the multi-generation hospice Heilhaus Kassel), Jürgen Dahlfeld ("bDas Zeitliche segnen – funerals", Kassel), Emine Duman (social worker and death companion, Kassel), Karin Flachmeyer (midwife at Heilhaus Kassel), priest Martin Gies, (parish St. Antonius von Padua, Kassel), Johanna Klug (author and death companion, Berlin), Prof. Dr. Reinhard Lindner (psychotherapist, Kassel/ Hamburg), Shaul Nekrich (rabbi, Jewish Community Kassel), Stefanie Silber (documentary photographer, Hamburg).
After "Lamento" and "Memento", the artist Ella Ziegler (Berlin) is responsible for the curatorial work for the third time together with Dr. Dirk Pörschmann, with the collaboration of Dr. Ulrike Neurath and museum educator Gerold Eppler.
Dr. Jean-Pierre Wils, professor of "Cultural Theology of Morality with Special Reference to Religion" at the Faculty of Religious Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has not only written the publication of the same name, he has also profitably accompanied the curatorial process of the exhibition. (Jean-Pierre Wils. Why we need Consolation – On the Traces of a Human Need, March 2023, S. Hirzel Publishers).
Dr. Dirk Pörschmann
Director Museum for Sepulchral Culture
State Secretary Ayse Asar
Hessian Ministry for Science and Art
Dr. Susanne Völker
Head of the Cultural Department of the City of Kassel
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Wils
University of Nijmegen, Netherlands
Co-curator of the exhibition
Musical contribution by Nina Osina, violin
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0