An artistic reflection on the margins of our society

Art has always dealt with the extreme, with the breaks and turning points in people’s lives. It can serve us as a mirror of our existence, so that we can look at it from other perspectives. Our art project FACING THE TABOO sees itself as a reflection of our existence in the existence of others: if you look at the portraits of children with life-shortening illnesses on the translucent glass walls, you are inevitably reflected in them, becoming part of the work that deals with life and its dissolution.

This immediate reflection creates in an image what a thousand words can hardly achieve. It is the encounter with ourselves in the terminally ill child.

Alisha, Deliyah, Lukas and Rasul are fun-loving children who are nevertheless united by a fateful reality: They were diagnosed with a life-shortening disease at a young age. Thoughts of life and death are not far away for the six to twelve year olds and their families, but have to be dealt with in everyday life. The aim of the art project, which is shown as a travelling exhibition in several German cities, is to break the taboos and the silence around the important work of children’s hospices. At the end of the travelling exhibition, the original exhibits will be auctioned off to generate funds to support children’s hospice work.

“With this thoroughly provocative campaign, we are taking a completely new approach,” says Franziska Kopitzsch, Executive Director of the federal association. “Traditionally, we usually focus very strongly on content-related discussions and rather text-heavy publications on the work of our members. With the art project FACING THE TABOO, we are venturing into a purely visual emotionalisation.”

What fundamentally interests us as MENSCH Kreativagentur are the fringes of society, the marginalised groups, the terminally ill children behind whom a vast unknown space opens up to swallow them. The people who circle at the edge of our consciousness like the outermost planets of our solar system, always on the edge of what is just visible, always in danger of being forgotten. This is exactly what we want to prevent with FACING THE TABOO: forgetting. We build a wall of glass for these beaming, joyful children and bring them into the light of our consciousness.

At each exhibition venue, the art project is accompanied by elaborate communication campaigns. The well-known actors Dieter Hallervorden and August Zirner have participated in the art project by speaking about the transience of life in short film sequences. From TV and cinema spots to social media and out-of-home measures, thousands of people are to be moved to visit the installation and enter into dialogu. The website provides in-depth information.

After the premiere at Germany’s largest cultural festival, the „Blaue Nacht“ in Nuremberg, the exhibition will go on tour throughout Germany. In October 2022, the exhibition will take place in the Parochialkirche in Berlin-Mitte. Further venues are planned for Stuttgart, Leipzig and the Cologne/Düsseldorf area.

Our thanks go to the German Association of Children’s Hospices for their courage and trust in taking this new path with us. And to all the partners who support this project.