The exhibition confronts us with love and death and leads us from the celebration of sensuous moments into transience and the end of earthly existence. Its point of departure is the cycle of 25 images of death, which in 1543 were created, based on the famous woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger for the Bishop’s palace in Chur. Starting in the autumn of 2020 these will finally become publicly accessible again for the first time. For the Art Museum Graubünden the opening of the cathedral treasure is the perfect time for devoting a special exhibition on the topic of the “Dance Macabre”. Instead of following the iconographic tradition of the confrontation between life and death, the focus of the exhibition is dance, movement, ecstasy and metamorphosis right up to decomposition in death. The exhibition forges a bridge from antiquity up to the present and confronts works of visual art with objects of cultural history. It comprises all media including film and integrates elements of pop-culture.
The exhibition curated by Stephan Kunz and Stefan Zweifel starts from the moment of movement, and shows with works by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jean Tinguely, Rebecca Horn and Daniel Schmid how in movement the secure foundation of our lives are disintegrated. It leads at one end into a cabinet of curiosities, which stands fully under the banner of the memento mori, and which brings together objects of cultural history with works by Hans Holbein to Andy Warhol. On the other side the exhibition follows the dynamics of dance, driven by lust for love and the metamorphic transcendence of the body in works by Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt to Yves Klein, from Hans Bellmer and Man Ray to Markus Raetz from Vaslav Nijinsky and Sophie Taeuber-Arp to Maurice Béjart. But it also leads starting from the ancient funerary cult and the mystery plays via unfathomable fairy tale images by Hans Christian Andersen, up to the world of cabaret.