Death and Dying

Curated by David Lillington

Wednesday 10 - Friday 19 September 2014


Wednesday 10 September 2014, 19.00
with performances 19.30 by Verena Dürr and 20.00 Roman Gerold

Video Screenings

Thursday 11 September and Wednesday 17 September 20.00


Wednesday 10 - Friday 19 September 2014

Opening times

Tuesday - Friday 16.00-20.00 and by appointment 00 44 7813 958523 (David, or by text) or +43 (0)676 340 9218 (Gue Schmidt)

MAG3 Projektraum
Director--Gue Schmidt,
Schiffamtsgasse 17, 1020
U-Bahn Schottenring, exit Herminengasse

Death and Dying will consist of two performances, two evening screenings of videos by 13 artists and an exhibition showing work by 30 artists. As early as 1984 sociologist Allan Kellehear wrote, ‘to say that our contemporary societies are “death-denying” has no theoretical or practical explanatory value.’ In 2001 Deborah Boardman, curator of the exhibition Mortal, (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) disclosed bravely: ‘in my own life a fear of death compelled me toward art projects that would comfort and assuage it.’ Similarly, Verena Dürr (performing on Wednesday the 10th) has written, ‘my approach is: through the issue of death to examine life.’ Some artists have worked with the subject for years, some respond to specific events, personal or out in the world. Much of the work tends towards theatre. This is a show about art as well as about death, with a huge range of approaches: social, quotidian, bodily; realist, romantic or about the inner voice.

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Death and Dying installation shots, MAG3 Projektraum. Photos by Sophie Tiller

List of Artists

1. Performance

Verena Dürr, Austria

Poetry and electronic music
Wednesday 10. September, 19.30
Verena Dürr presents Prima Materia, a poem about poisonous plants and dangerous expressions of love. And Die Alkaloide der Liebe, a darkly romantic text full of metaphors of decay and vanity, and breathing the spirit of fin-de-siecle-decadence.
Verena Dürr is a poet, performer and musician. She lives and writes in Vienna.
She earns her daily bread as a kitchen assistant.

In 2014 Dürr was the first winner of the newly established Hautnah Prize (Ö1 Radio with RadioKulturhaus) for Performance Poetry.

Verena Dürr, Fegefeuerlyrik

Roman Gerold, Austria
Aflenz Dance of Death
Wednesday 10 September, 20.00
A stranger appears – most likely around noon – through a hole in the ground into a sleepy Styrian spa town. To the delight of the villagers, he brings back to life a grandmother who died many years ago. People cannot believe what happens next.

The Aflenz Dance of Death is a live audio-piece approximately ten minutes long. It is at once cheap novel, fairytale, science fiction, generational drama and much more, but it provides no realist portrait of a milieu. Much is hidden between the lines and a lot can only be heard at night. Important influences are H.C. Artmann, as the author of fairytales, and the fantasy writer, Paul Scheerbart.

Roman Gerold grew up in Aflenz and Kapfenberg. He is a journalist, author and musician. He has written extensively on the Dance of Death genre.

2. Video Screenings

Thursday 11 September, 20.00
Wednesday 17 September, 20.00
Screening of 13 artists’ videos on the theme of death and dying. Total running time 80 mins.

Bartosz Sikorski, Austria
  • 1 bit pixel, 2009, 39 seconds
Malin Ståhl, Sweden/UK
  • We Didn’t Say No, 2008,10.23 Min
Dialogue based on the Shakespeare plays Hamlet (Ophelia), A Midsummer
Night’s Dream (Bottom) and Twelfth Night (Clown).
Death (Clown ) - plays the French horn
White Canary (Bottom) - plays the trumpet
X (Ophelia) - plays the clarinet

Malin Ståhl, We Didn’t Say No
Petrina Ng, Canada
  • Objectivity 3, 2007, 1 Min
Owen Oppenheimer, UK
  • Nowhere Really, 15 Min
Artavazd Peleshian, Armenia
  • End, 1994, 8 Min
Ophélie Malassigné, France
  • The Letter, 2009, 1 Min
Sanna Linell, Sweden/UK
  • Innocent When You Dream, 3 Min
Innocent When You Dream was shot in a forest in Sweden on the site of a village which has been entirely lost. So it is about the death of an entire society. The village was almost certainly where some of Linell’s ancestors lived. The foundation stones remain, which seems to be why no trees grow there. The script is an annotated version of Tomas Tranströmer’s poem The Clearing.
Kate Davis and David Moore, UK
  • The Cut, 2010, 3 Min
Fabienne Audéoud, France
  • She Prepared the Staging of her Death, 2000, 8 Mins
Philip Hoffman, Canada
  • Somewhere Between Jalostotitlan and Encarnacion, 1984, 6 Min
Christina Stuhlberger, Germany
  • 25 Years Later, 2009, 1 Min
Audrey Reynolds, UK
  • Lenoir, 1.24 Min
    Translation by Julia Dziumla
Elizabeth Price, UK
  • The Woolworths Choir of 1979, 2012, 20 Min
In 2012 Elizabeth Price won the Turner Prize

Total running time 80 Minutes

3. Exhibition

* indicates work that has not been exhibited before Death and Dying

Emi Avora, Greece/UK
  • Fallen Pieces, 2014, photograph, 240 x 117.5 cm*
  • Suggestion of Elsewhere, oil on canvas, 42 cm x 29.7 cm, 2014*
Carolina Chew, Brazil
  • Yours Sincerely, 2014, Silver, hallmarked, 1.2 x 1.4 cm x 0.9 mm*
  • From: Myths To: Life, metal, 2014. dimensions variable
    Made in a foundry in Brazil for the exhibition*
Alicja Dobrucka, Poland/UK
  • I like like you, I like you a lot, 2008-2011, slide-show
Dobrucka: “This is a personal work, about family and the experience of death and mourning. It responds to the tragic loss of my 13-year-old brother Maks, who drowned while on a scout trip in May 2008 in Poland.” She says that the photographs also function as a commentary on a new, post-Communist generation in Poland, many of whom, like Maks, were obsessed with Western, mostly American images of military heroism. In this way images of grief also “document a certain loss of Polish identity.”

Alicja Dobrucka, I like you, I like you a lot
Lorrice Douglas, UK
  • Drawing, De Ateliers, Amsterdam 2002, photograph*

Douglas: “There is not a lot to say. But that in itself is significant. During my time at De Ateliers I worked on a series of incidental works. These were unadvertised and made to be chanced upon in passing. This piece was imagined quickly. It wasn’t rehearsed and apart from placing the chair in a specific spot I didn’t know myself how it would appear. In that respect it was a gestural act. I set up the camera in my studio and when my neighbour walked in I asked him to press the shutter when I had stopped drawing. There was only one person in the audience, myself, and one photograph taken. The photograph has not been shown before.”

Lorrice Douglas, Drawing, De Ateliers,
Amsterdam 2002.
Chilo Eribenne, UK/Austria
  • Whole In Your Head, 2011, C-Print auf Dibond, 121 x 81 cm
Text in Photograph:“Nil by mind, yet subterfuge entry via the senses. Life cut short by short-circuiting the function to self-awareness via constant blasts of media overkill. Superpower manipulation supporting the goal of supreme puppet-masters - what chance people revolution?”

Chilo Eribenne, Whole In Your Head
Valérie Favre, Germany

With thanks to Galerie Barbara Thumm and Alison Jacques

  • Short Cuts (untitled), 2010, Oil on canvas, 20 x 50 cm

From the Suicide Series:

  • Suicide (In der Badewanne), 2007, Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm
  • Suicide (Jumping in Front of a Car), 2009 / 2011, Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm
  • Suicide (Seneca, Bled to Death), 2010 / 2011 oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm
  • Suicide (Alexander McQueen, Hanged), 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm
  • Suicide (After ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’, directed by Irvin Kershner), 2010 / 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm
  • Suicide (Ulrike Meinhof), 2010, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm

Valérie Favre, Selbstmord (Seneca, Bled to Death)
Nicky Hirst, UK
  • Preparation After Death, 1996, remade 2014
    Table and all the materials needed for the ‘last offices’: the procedures performed shortly after a person’s death has been confirmed.

Nicky Hirst, Preparation After Death
Marc Hulson, UK
  • Four drawings
    from the series, Cast,1998 - 2014 / ongoing, graphite on paper. 28 x 26 cm framed

Marc Hulson, from the series, Cast
Birgit Jürgenssen, Austria
  • Four Polaroids, each:
    Untitled, 1979, SX 70 Polaroid, framed 34 x 29 cm
    With thanks to Galerie Hubert Winter, Estate Birgit Jürgenssen and Alison Jacques

Birgit Jürgenssen, Untitled
Tamara K.E., Georgia/Germany/USA
  • Untitled, 2013, oil on ricepaper, 18 x12 inches
Hiroe Komai, Japan/UK
  • Suicide Paintings, pastel on paper, 2014, each 20 x 13 cm
  • Osamu Dazai (Writer 1909-1948)
  • Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Writer, 1892-1927)
  • Yukio Mishima (Writer, 1925-1970)
  • Toshiro Mifune (Actor, 1920-1997)
  • Raizo Ichikawa (Actor, 1931-1969)
  • All these Japanese actors and writers committed suicide.*

Hiroe Komai, Suicide Paintings
Annie Lovejoy, UK
  • Dead Real, 2014, photographic image sequence*
Lovejoy: “28.05.03: a coroner calls to tell me Alan Boreham has died. It takes a few seconds to realise he means my old friend Cat. ‘Would you be prepared to take responsibility for his estate and funeral arrangements? He has no family and you are the first person in his address book.’ ‘OK’ I say. A group of strangers (artists and activists), brought together by the death of a mutual friend, take the business of funeral arrangements into their own hands. Deadline: 07.06.03 (ten days)”

Annie Lovejoy, Dead Real
Elizabeth Magill, UK/Irland/Canada
  • Man with Skull, 2010, oil on postcard, framed 41x 35.5 cm

Elizabeth Magill, Man with Skull
Marilyn Manson, USA
  • Death Mask, 1998, fibreglass. Made by the Manson for a video for the album Mechanical Animals.
    Kindly loaned by writer K.L.Gillespie*
Piper Mavis, USA/UK
  • Mary Cassidy, Los Angeles, 1950’s, 2006, Cibachrome, 9 x 9 inches
    Mae and Don West, Lake James, September 1949, 2006, Cibachrome, 9 x 9 inches

Piper Mavis, Mae and Don West
McGrath Makers, UK
  • Halima Begum, Donald Dunn, Sonya Holder, Arthur Locke
  • Dance of Death (Death and the Jester) 2014, textile figures
  • McGrath Makers is an organisation for people with learning disabilities
    This piece was commissioned for the exhibition*

McGrath Makers, Dance of Death (The Jester and Death)
Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed, Austria
  • Death as Seducer, 2013, biro on paper, 70 x 100 cm
  • Untitled, 2012, biro on paper, 80 x 60 cm*
In 2013 Mohamed was nominated for the Parz Art Award and for the Walter Koschatzky Art Award.

Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed, Death as Seducer.
Goia Mujalli, Brazil/UK
  • Untitled, 2014, transferred image and acrylic paint on canvas, 20 cm x 20 cm Four collages, all 2014, acrylic and oil on paper:
    • Residues, 20 x 25 cm
    • Lungs, 20 x 15 cm
    • Dark Heart, 15 x 20 cm
    • Bones, 23 x 23 cm*

Goia Mujalli, Bones
Maia Naveriani, Georgia/UK
  • Broken Game, 2014, Watercolour and coloured pencil on Paper, 24 x 32 cm*
Fabian Peake, UK
  • From the series, The Burial, 1 & 2, 2014, charcoal on paper, 55.5 x 75.5 cm*
Peake: “After reading a harrowing article about the death by starvation of a young boy, unreported by his mother for two years, I wrote a poem which tried to make sense of her state of mind. It suggests that in her disturbed state she was really burying herself, not her child. In a series of drawings, handwritten words from the poem are randomly scattered and overlaid, swamping the paper. They conjure the burial and mummification of the boy, lying in his cot under old blankets and detritus.”

Fabian Peake, from the series, The Burial
Harriet Poznansky, UK
  • Drawing, 2014, paint on paper*
Lukas Pusch, Austria
  • Truckdriver’s Grave, Siberia, photograph with frame, 87 x 70 cm

Lukas Pusch, Truckdriver’s Grave, Siberia
Petra Sterry, Austria
  • From the series ‘I Delimit Myself’ (original painting form the film ‘I Delimit Myself’), 2013, blood on paper, 70 x 97 cm unframed*
  • Help me, 2014, acrylic on paper, 72.4 x 102.3 cm with frame*

Petra Sterry, Hilf mir, 2014 © Bildrecht, Wien, 2014
Nicola Streeten, UK
  • Billy, You and Me, 2010, graphic novel
    Winner of a British Medical Association award
  • Four original drawings for Billy, You and Me, 2010, A5/A4*
    Copies of Billy, You and Me are available in the gallery and can be bought online at

Nicola Streeten, Billy, You and Me
Sophie Tiller, Austria
  • Grave panels: Ferdinand, Frieda, Konrad, Maximilian
    2007/2014, Four c-prints, 13 x 18 cm on Aluminium, edition 3+2 AP*
Tiller: “I feel the need to sustain the grave panels, to restore them, to bring them back to life, to breathe life into them by giving them my eyes. By giving them a part of my body I feel close to the deceased. I envision how life and death could look through the eyes of someone else. ‘The finitude of the image ultimately reflects the fatal finitude of one’s own life. Thus every picture that wants to conserve life and vanquish death, bears death.’
Roland Barthes.”

Sophie Tiller, Grave panels: Ferdinand, Frieda, Konrad, Maximilian
Sonia Tuttiet, UK
  • Weeping Willow Woman, 2014, textile, height 23 cm*
Tuttiet: “Willow trees, especially weeping willows, are symbols of death. They are traditionally planted in graveyards. In the Middle Ages it was common to place a willow branch inside a coffin to ward off evil spirits. In Greek myth Persephone was associated with the willow. She ruled the underworld during winter, to then arise and rule the fertile spring.”

Sonia Tuttiet, Weeping Willow Woman

With thanks to

Translators —
Stefanie Baumann
Udo Breger
Julia Dziumla - special thanks also for Julia's German version of Audrey Reynolds' 'Lenoir'
Áine McMurtry
Christina Parte

Callouts —
Bernadette Anzengruber
Barbis Ruder

Accommodation —
Bernadette Anzengruber
Guido Hoffmann and Petra Sterry
Thomas Hörl
Lilli Kern and Stephan Rabeck
Silke & Franz Maier-Gamauf
Suzie Léger
Babs Legerer
Heidi Legerer

Exhibition installation —
Carolina Chew, Fritz Fro, Hiroe Komai, David Lillington, Goia Mujalli, Harriet Poznansky, Gue Schmidt, Petra Sterry, Sophie Tiller, Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed

Photography —
Carolina Chew, Doris Deninger, Hiroe Komai, Goia Mujalli, Joy Sleeman, Sophie Tiller

Other credits —
Curatorial Advisor — Emi Avora
For Birgit Jürgenssen — Natascha Burger (Estate Birgit Jürgenssen) + Hubert Winter, Nora and Eleanor
Website — Matt Davis
For Valerie Favre — Marieke Ender and Timm Obendorfer at Galerie Barbara Thumm
Exhibition wall-labels — Maria Hubinger
Logistics — Suzie Leger
Transport for Valerie Favre paintings — Aseea Mahmood
Project assistants — Silke Maier-Gamauf, Doris Deninger
Graphic design — Goia Mujalli
Video editing — Owen Oppenheimer
Contacts — Christina Parte
McGrath Makers liaison & support - Sophie Ramsay and Celia Ward
Technical advice and translation & Peter Remke

Video subtitles for Sanna Linell and Malin Ståhl — Adam Sibalik
Uniqa insurance — Anita Santruschitz + Petra Tisch & Christine Zingl

Special thanks to Adam, Aseea, Emi, Goia, Harriet, Joy, Matt, Owen & Silke

Tod und Sterben/Death and Dying is supported by
Das Kulturamt der Stadt Wien (Department of Culture, Vienna) and
Das Bundesminesterium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur (Federal Ministry of Education, Art and Culture, Austria)

and has the following partners:

The Association for the Study of Death and Society
The Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
The National Funeral Museum at T.Cribb and Sons, London
Netherlands Funeral Museum (Nederlands Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover)
Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London
East London Textile Arts, London
Prick Your Finger, London

Wild Gift is a member of the Association for the Study of Death and Society

2010's Arts Council England Research and Development Grant for a Death project

was obtained with the help of
Steph Allen – producer
Marit Münzberg –
Matthew Davis – web developer
Madalen Vicassiau, Susanne Legerer, Vaishali Pathak – project assistants
Ana Cavic and Renee O'Drobinak (Cluster)

Das Kulturamt der Stadt Wien Das Bundesminesterium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur The centre for Death and Society, University of Bath University of Bath The National Funeral Museum at T.Cribb and Sons, London Netherlands Funeral Museum (Nederlands Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover) Association for the Study of Death and Society Prick Your Finger British Council East London Textile Arts