… give me the place

14. February – 15. March 2020

Six facets of grief for a child

An exhibition by Claus Maywald with contributions by Chris Paul and Felix Pestemer

In 2014 the exhibition project “…give me the place” will begin with a “monologue” – a small book of poems. Claus Maywald speaks to his youngest daughter Lara. She died three years earlier at the age of 6. Far too young. A “GAU” has occurred: The greatest misfortune to have befallen a father of seven. For the fact that children die before their parents is a contradiction that is hard to communicate and hard for the parents to bear.

In his “monologue” Claus Maywald experiences all facets of grief. At first, the expectation of having to cope with the future life without the youngest daughter seems almost unbearable for the family father. But he accepts the tasks that arise from the grief for his daughter, translates them into associative verses and finally condenses them in a multimedia exhibition. Selected passages of the monologue are presented in six video clips. Insistent words describe the inner torments experienced. Those who engage with the texts and images are given the opportunity to confront their own experiences of loss – and possibly better understand the situation of those who are currently in such a process.

This is where the second part of the exhibition comes in – the presentation of the model of “mourning facets” by Chris Paul. Here the individual fate of Claus Maywald is juxtaposed with the general framework of the mourning process. And so both parts complement each other to form a duet of feeling and knowledge.

Claus Maywald did not go the way to the exhibition “… give me the place” alone. He gave his “monologue” to his friend Felix Pestemer. The lines inspired writers of graphic novels to dreamlike soul pictures. The fantastic landscapes the artist created are analogies of the original reactions of grief. The pictures reflect how difficult it is for those affected to realize the loss and to face the pain.

The death of a loved one fundamentally changes the life of the relatives. Therefore, adapting to everyday life is a great challenge. This is often accompanied by the fear that the bond with the deceased person could be completely dissolved.

Claus Maywald’s search for places where he could “rediscover” his daughter Lara is thus also a search for the meaning of untimely death.

A version of “… give me the place” can be borrowed as a travelling exhibition.