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article imageGerman artist wants a volunteer to die for his artwork

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 24, 2008 in Entertainment
A German artist has caused a stir after he was found looking for a volunteer willing to die for his artwork. He wants to portray the dying stages as an art.
The 39-year-old Gregor Schneider, a famous German artist wants a model who is about to die so he can portray the death while the public watches the scene.
Schneider has used death as a subject for much of his career; he became famous for his sculpture, Hannelore Reuen, of a dead woman.
He has been planning on this idea for a long time since 1996. He has asked a pathologist and art collector to help him find a suitable candidate, so that he or she can become a work of art in their final days.
Schneider told Times:
The dying person would determine everything in advance, he would be the absolute centre of attention…Everything will be done in consultation with the relatives, and the public will watch the death in an appropriately private atmosphere.
While many consider death as sacred, artists are trying to use it for their own purposes. Besides Schneider, there are others who use death for art purposes. Gunther von Hagens, nicknamed Doctor Death, has an exhibition of corpses, showing genuine human bodies in living poses, playing games or on a horseback.
The Wellcome Collection in London hosts a photo exhibition with people pictured before and after death, taken by two German photographers.
Germans consider Schneider’s project equivalent to watching executions in the U.S.
A German gallery owner Beatrix Kalwa told the Times that she is not planning to provide space for Schneider’s exhibition.
Existential matters like death, birth or the act of reproduction do not belong in a museum…There is a fundamental difference between portraying these acts in an art form, and showing them in actuality.
Other gallery owners agreed with Beatrix.
Eugen Brysch, the head of the German hospice foundation that provides care for the terminally ill, said this is like pure voyeurism and makes a mockery of the dying.
Schneider however is undisturbed with all the criticisms. He argues that death is already undignified and his aim is to restore its grace.
It is not clear from the article what he plans to do with the volunteer -- whether he will paint the dying or have objects around them and display it like a museum piece.
This is no art, he is making a mockery of death, in my opinion.
Should Germans allow this artwork to proceed as planned?
More about Artwork, Volunteer, Die
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