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Death and the Devil. Fascination of Horror – Gemäldegalerie Düsseldorf | 14.09.2023-21.01.2024

Editors’ Choice

From 14 September 2023, the Gemäldegalerie Düsseldorf presents the exhibition “Death and the Devil. Fascination of Horror”. For the first time, a show illuminates the legacy and continuation of artistic strategies of horror in fashion, music, film as well as contemporary art. The spectrum of the 120 works on display ranges from classical painting and sculpture to elaborate installations.

Fig. above: Tod und Teufel. Die Faszination des Horrors, Zombie Boy (Rick Genest), 2011 Photo Dmitry Smirnov

The presentation begins with a prologue that illustrates how the history of art and culture has been marked by death and horror. It spans from the fantastic demons of the Renaissance exhorting sinful behaviour, to the landscapes of Romanticism steeped in ruins and shadows, to the suspenseful figures lurking in early 20th century horror films. Part of a “cannibalistic” genre that continually revisits its own symbols, characters and themes, these historical examples serve to contextualise contemporary interpretations of horror. In the main body of the show, the exhibition brings together works from the last two decades. The diverse adaptations of strategies and protagonists of horror testify to its importance in fashion, music, film and art.

Works by artists as diverse as Alexander McQueen, the Chapman Brothers, Billie Eilish, Lars von Trier, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Mary Sibande and many others are presented. Death metal and the blood-filled trainers of MSCHF meet contributions by Andres Serrano and Eliza Douglas.

With their approaches to generating fear, disgust or discomfort, these works formulate a canonised rule-breaking that transcends the boundaries of society, gets under the skin and fires the imagination.

Curator: Westrey Page, Kunstpalast

Patron: Mey & Edlich

Further exhibition venues: Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt (February to May 2024) and Museum Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt (June to September 2024).


Gemäldegalerie Düsseldorf
Ehrenhof 4-5
40479 Düsseldorf


Exhibition dates:

Thursday, 14 September 2023 – Sunday, 21 January 2024

Opening hours:

Tue-Sun 11 am- 6 pm
Thu 11 am – 9 pm
Mon closed

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