Depot and Dump
What remains of us when we die? What objects actually have defined us? How have these objects defined spaces? The exhibition “Depot und Deponie” (depot and dump) at the Munich DG Kunstraum by the artists Christoph and Sebastian Mügge explores the theme of death and afterlife, and also encourages us to reflect on how death inscribes itself in the landscape.
The circumstances of death are closely connected to the transformation of landscapes – both real and digital. Everything we leave behind – in virtual and real spaces – changes our surroundings. Places of burial, memorial and remembrance are inscribed in the topography of cities and landscapes. But also objects that are left behind, bequeathed, collected, or discarded, permanently change spaces and landscapes. At DG Kunstraum in Munich, the exhibition “Depot und Deponie” (depot and dump) currently deals precisely with this topic. It reflects upon what remains when we die. In doing so it also deals with the issue of transformation of space.
depot and dump: Digital and real-life legacies
In their art installation, the German artists and brothers Christoph and Sebastian Mügge refer to a variety of aspects that relate to the afterlife: What remains of us when we die? What kind of objects have defined us? How have these objects defined spaces, places, landscapes? And what happens to our digital legacies that have been “engraved” in the virtual world as fleeting and yet hardly deletable traces? Christoph and Sebastian Mügge, who both live in Malmö, occupy the rooms of the DG Kunstraum to draw attention to the afterlife with an abundance of objects. These are for example mountains of files, postcards, letters and data storage devices. They also create images with the help of wall drawings and paintings with black paint, charcoal and chalk. While Christoph’s work is more sculptural in the form of ceramics, 3D prints, wood sculptures and print graphics, Sebastian’s medium is drawing, both on paper and in large format – in the form of the exuberant wall drawings that resemble “wimmelpictures”.
Death and transformation
The big question hovering over all this is indeed “Depot or Deponie” – to keep or to throw away? In the exhibition catalogue, managing director and curator of DG Kunstraum Benita Meißner refers to the title and also to the second intellectual level of the exhibition, to art itself. Both the word ‘depot’ and the word ‘deponie’ go back to the Latin verb ‘deponere’, which means ‘to deposit or abandon’. Art will be collected in a depot. But waste goes to the dump. However, what exactly is art and what can be dumped? According to Benita Meißner in the catalogue, the artists also want to explore this question in the exhibition. And also, the question of the ephemeral nature of information and communication arises: while today we can still browse through books that are centuries old, floppy disks and VHS tapes, for example, as everyday objects and data storage devices from a nearly bygone era, point out that information may exist, but in some cases can no longer be retrieved.
Funeral Culture in the City of Munich
The artists Christoph and Sebastian Mügge travelled from Malmö to Munich in the summer of 2021 to explore the city’s funeral culture. They collected all the objects in the exhibition from Munich and the surrounding area, visited flea markets, undertakers, private households and browsed through the internet in search of legacies from people who lived and passed in the Munich region. The surreal seeming wall drawings refer to the “Munich-like” perspective, as both artists show supposedly typical Bavarian “objects” such as the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), pretzels, dirndls or deer antlers in their works for DG Kunstraum. The exhibition runs until 18 February. It will be followed by the exhibition Notre Dame – Female Artists of the DG Kunstraum, which runs from March 8 2022, the International Women’s Day, to April 29 2022. It uses the example of five female artists from Upper Bavaria to scrutinise gender roles in art. For further information visit the DG Kunstraum.
Interested in public art? Look at the art installation Neustadt alongside the Emscherkunstweg.