Dead and Alive: Consumed by FireBack
@ Klaus Bo
Consumed By Fire – Dead And Alive #001
Should the dead be exposed?
Beautiful. Provocative. Both words can be used when photographer Klaus Bo and writer Susanne Sayers show how the dead are consumed by fire are in one of the holiest of places in Hinduism, Varanasi in India.
In Varanasi the funeral pyres burn night and day all year round, because if you are cremated here, you can escape the wheel of reincarnation, Samsara, and merge with divinity, freed of earthly longings and cravings.
But is it okay to expose the dead in this way? Why show how the flames devour the fragile bodies?
The two exhibitors are keen to hear how the visitors will respond to the exhibition. Not because they mean to provoke, but because the exhibition is a pre-project for a much larger project, ‘Dead And Alive’, which will eventually show how we deal with death in different cultures and locations.
»We have both experienced how death has become a taboo in our culture, how we try to avoid it,« explains Klaus Bo.
»We feel a need to make death more approachable, to be able to talk about what we do, after all, all have in common: that we are going to die. And we want to do this by showing that it is not a given thing that death should be hidden or feared. In other cultures you may dig out the bones of the dead from their tombs and dance with them in broad daylight, or the dead remain with you as house deities,« he adds.
The couple behind the exhibition sees our attitude towards death and life after death as a reflection of our attitude towards life and morality. Some of the rituals that they want to bear witness to are threatened, while others are only now emerging as a natural consequence of new possibilities, such as space burials. At the same time a description of all these rituals surrounding death, the dead and the dying offer a unique insight into other cultures.
Klaus Bo and Susanne Sayers are eager to hear how the visitors respond.
»Our goal is to make it easier to talk about death, not to make people run away in horror,« says Susanne Sayers.
»Of course, some people will always feel that relating to death is uncomfortable business. But we do hope to find a balance that will fascinate rather than offend.«
The exhibition, ‘Consumed By Fire – Dead And Alive #001′ can be seen during Copenhagen Photo Festival at Fotocaféen, Vesterbrogade 45. Opening on June 7, 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm.