In art, death is a universal subject. In contemporary art, two extremes can be determined: art either reclaims this ritual, previously abducted from organised religion by professional service providers or the media; and then, through the medium of art, re-presents or re-constructs it. Or, certain artists reposition the unwelcome corpse (the Trouble with Harry syndrome) back into our field of vision, reminding us in a very direct way that our (physical) existence (also) continues after death.
Six Feet Under gathers together works taken from several centuries. Its main focus however is contemporary art from diverse continents and civilisations – Europe, the USA, Mexico, China, Japan, Indonesia and Ghana.
Important thematic cycles in the exhibition are: the burial of children (from Albert Anker to Teresa Margolles), skulls (from Stefan Balkenhol to Com&Com), cadavers (from Félix Vallotton to Andres Serrano), the death of the artist (from Ferdinand to Rayski to Gianni Motti), coffins (from Ferdinand Hodler to Joe Scanlan), rituals of death (from Max Buri to Jean-Frédéric Schnyder), the beloved/honoured dead (from Cuno Amiet to AA Bronson), death and lifestyle (from Martin Kippenberger to John Armleder), and so on