Exhibitions

About Life and death - for grown-ups

Children also entertain many thoughts about life and death, but in our part of the world death has grown much more remote and we often tend to shelter or even mollycoddle our children.

Art helps us grow as people and allows us to get to grips with difficult and ambiguous matters. Encountering works of art can help us see new perspectives and venture down unfamiliar roads.

© Children gathered around Eva Tind Kristensen, Sow, 2011. Photo: Frida Gregersen (SMK Photo)

Is this really suitable for children?
Thoughts about life and death have occupied many artists through the ages. But what does that have to do with children? Quite a lot! For children also entertain many thoughts about the subject.

Not so long ago death was a more natural part of life. Old people and animals would die in the children’s immediate vicinity, and death was a much more integrated facet of their lives. Child mortality rates were also much higher. In our part of the world death has grown much more remote and taboo since then, and we often tend to shelter or even mollycoddle our children.

But is the easy-going, comfortable childhood life really constructive in terms of developing the skills that enable children to lead meaningful adult lives? How do we best prepare children for the barriers and setbacks they will encounter in life? How do you get them to stop and feel that they are alive, to be aware of their existence?

One way of helping them do this is to give them the courage to reflect on subjects that are difficult, strange, wondrous, and challenging. Our ambition with this exhibition was to prompt reflection – and happily we have found that children are much less afraid of talking about death than adults.

This exhibition celebrated life as much as it focused on death. Taking art as our point of departure we wished to prepare children for living life to the full!

Get Life and death - a folder for grown-ups about the exhibition

Eva Tind Kristensen, Sow, 2011

What does the room do?
The hub of this exhibition was the Reflection Zone that you would find to the left of the entrance. The zone took its point of departure in the forest, in the tree, as an image of life – and death. The architecture mimed the cave, a place where you could be on your own, relax, and think really deep or really small thoughts. Within its simple, yet carefully orchestrated scenography the zone offered a wealth of audio information, film, props, words, books, questions, maps, etc.

The zone brought together opportunities for physical activity and for quiet contemplation. The objective of the zone’s ”mental gymnastics” was to qualify our subsequent dialogue about the works of art.

What is it art can do?
Art helps us grow as people and allows us to get to grips with difficult and ambiguous matters. Encountering works of art can help us see new perspectives and venture down unfamiliar roads.

Room for more?
The exhibition was not a reservation, but a place where children could stock up on positive mental baggage that they could subsequently use if they explored the Gallery’s collections further.


For children

”How do you get up into heaven?” a girl asked one day. Grown-ups don’t know everything, you know. But everybody knows something about life.
What you could experience in the exhibition


Film

"It makes me think of flowers and blood and guns". Small film about children's understanding of life and death.
Watch the film


Updated: 18.nov.2014
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