Bettina Scholz

Circular Gravestones in Black and White

"You Want it Darker". Until the middle of July, an exhibition at the Friedhof Forum (Cemetery Forum) in Zurich invites visitors to reflect on mortality in the form of music and art. Through music and sculpture, the exhibition is devoted to the subject of approaching death and the remembrance of someone beloved.


For over ten years, the Friedhof Forum in the offices of the Sihlfeld cemetery in Zurich has been exploring mortality, death, and remembrance in an artistic and non-denominational way once a year. Running until mid-July, the three exhibition spaces on Aemtlerstrasse will be focusing on musicians who grew up in youth culture and are now slowly starting to age and the way they are coping with this. How do ageing pop and rock musicians deal with the irreversible and therefore inevitable fact that their days are also finally numbered? How does this awareness affect their songs? Nearly 70 years after the invention of rock 'n' roll, the promise of eternal youth and unbridled lust for life proclaimed back then no longer fully holds true today.

Visualising the Invisible

Thomas Scheibitz
Thomas Scheibitz
The visualisation of death or its translation into a tangible form is not only a challenge in pop or rock music. Any stonemason experiences this day in and day out in conversations with relatives and when designing grave memorials. Death itself defies description; the commemoration of a lost loved one is difficult to depict. In Zurich, songs by David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis, Joy Division, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Scott Walker, and Yello serve as examples of bidding farewell. In addition, the exhibition displays works by several different sculptors that relate to individual songs.

Thomas Scheibitz, for example, who is from a family of traditional stonemasons, has sculpted a yellow-coloured cube. In doing so, he is referring to DĂĽrer's copperplate engraving Melancholia as well as the tune Lullaby by US singer Scott Walker.

Bettina Scholz
Bettina Scholz
Bettina Scholz, who teaches at the Kunsthochschule Berlin WeiĂźensee, created a metal object entitled Death is not the End, a work that explores infinity; the matching song is by Bob Dylan. Swiss artist Nora Fehr, who in addition to paintings and sculptures also makes gravestones, drew her inspiration from the US singer Joni Mitchell, among others, and used her lyrics to sew monochrome pictures. The exhibition was curated by Berlin journalist, publicist, and exhibition maker Max Dax. The idea behind his exhibition is to give the songs of death a second dimension and make them tangible by means of sculptures, paintings, and photographs.

The easiest way to do this is to listen to the songs. You will find the playlist compiled by Max Dax for the exhibition HERE.

The article was written by Willy Hafner in German.


About the author

Willy Hafner

Willy Hafner is a Munich based art historian who helped organize the first and second Sculpture Network Lab in 2019. Since then he has been reporting for us on exciting sculpture projects in Germany and beyond. He is also a member of the Patronage Committee of the Centro Internazionale di Scultura and helps emphasize the economic and cultural significance of the project.


Sybille Hayek

Sybille Hayek is an editor and translator. Since 2022 she has been supporting our team on a voluntary basis with her trained eye for detail and a great love of language.

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