Alenka Pirman, Jani Pirnat, Damijan Kracina, Blaž Bajič
Domestic Research Society
The National and University Library, the Museum of Modern Art (MG+MSUM), the City Museum of Ljubljana
Casting of Death
The casting of death masks is one of the most ancient portrait techniques in the history of sculpture. The death masks of prominent people (politicians, scientists, artists) functioned as an exploitation medium that fit well into precisely structured political and societal projects (nationalism, class struggle, secularisation). In the Western society of the 19th century, however, it went hand in hand with the secularisation and affirmation of the bourgeois society, in which the establishment of a public museum also played a crucial role. In the 21st century the custom seems to be dying out. The death masks are omitted from the rearranged memorial rooms and stored in the museum depots.
Within this Creative Co-Production, the Domestic Research Society, an artistic/curatorial collective, researches the phenomenon of the death masks together with the curators from the National and University Library, the Museum of Modern Art, and the City Museum of Ljubljana. The death masks in the Slovene museums seem to range from 1890s to 1980s. The project aims at investigating the process of omitting the masks from the rearranged memorial rooms and stored in the museum depots. By researching the social and cultural changes that seem to have brought an end to the making of death masks it seeks to contribute to the understanding of the representation of death in the process of identity making in Europe.