Death and the Devil

The Fascination with Horror

14 September 2023 – 21 January 2024

Death and the Devil
Dmitry Smirnov, Zombie Boy (Rick Genest), 2011


14 September 2023 – 21 January 2024


» Kunstpalast
  • Admission: 13 € / concessions 10 €

  • Children / young people under 18: free

  • Members of Friends of the Kunstpalast: free

Changed opening hours on the weekend of 20 and 21 January 2024

Due to an internal event, the Kunstpalast will be open on Saturday, 20 January from 3pm to 7pm. On Sunday, 21 January, we will extend our opening hours from 10 am to 7 pm.

General opening hours

The exhibition Death and the Devil explores the artistic fascination with the gruesome. The first of its kind, the show illuminates the legacy and continuation of horror’s tropes in fashion, music, film as well as contemporary art. The 120 works on display range from classical painting and sculpture to elaborate installations.

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King Cobra (Doreen Lynette Garner), Red Rack of Those Ravaged and Unconsenting, 2018
King Cobra (Doreen Lynette Garner), Red Rack of Those Ravaged and Unconsenting, 2018

The presentation begins with a prologue that illustrates how the history of art and culture has been marked by death and macabre images.

This spans from the fantastical demons of the Renaissance admonishing sinful behaviour, to the landscapes of Romanticism steeped in ruin and shadows, to the suspenseful figures lurking in early 20th-century horror films. As part of a “cannibalistic” genre that continually re-enacts its own symbols, characters, and themes, these historical examples serve to contextualize contemporary interpretations of the gruesome and terrifying.

Mary Sibande. To everything there is a season, 2019
Mary Sibande. To everything there is a season, 2019

In the main body of the show, the exhibition brings together works from the last two decades. The diverse adaptations of horror’s tropes attest to its importance in fashion, music, film, and art. 

Presented are works by artists as diverse as Rei Kawakubo, the Chapman Brothers, Billie Eilish, Lars von Trier, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Mary Sibande, Stefan Vogel and many others. Death metal and the blood-filled sneakers of MSCHF meet contributions from Andres Serrano and Eliza Douglas. With their approaches to generating fear, disgust or discomfort, these works formulate a canonized rule-breaking that transgresses societal barriers, gets under the skin and fires the imagination.

Eliza Douglas, Untitled, 2023
Eliza Douglas, Untitled, 2023

With a total of three stations, the exhibition will be on view in large parts of Germany. The show will start at the Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf (September 2023 – January 2024), continue at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt (1 March 2024 – 2 June 2024) and end at the Museum Georg Schäfer in Schweinfurt (14 July – 20 October 2024).

Curator: Westrey Page, Kunstpalast

Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau„Nosferatu“, 1922
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau„Nosferatu“, 1922

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive catalogue and a comprehensive program of events that will make the fascination of the subject tangible outside the museum.

The exhibition is suitable for children from 12 years of age.


    Mey & Edlich, Kapsel-Kollektion, Photo: Mey & Edlich
    Mey & Edlich, Kapsel-Kollektion, Photo: Mey & Edlich


    The “Death and the Devil” collection by Mey & Edlich, which was especially created for the exhibition, is characterised by deep dark tones and comprises 13 pieces in total. It is a fusion between the familiar and the novel, giving rise to unprecedented nuances in between. Some of the designs make reference to selected exhibits – such as the hoodie with a print of the white death mask of a 19th-century girl, “Resusci Anne”, which is used today as a model for reanimation dolls. Also, there is a buttoned shirt with two sides. On the back it bears Dürer’s copper engraving dating from the 16th century: Knight, Death and Devil. It is the first time in German-speaking culture that fashion explores the subject of death in some depth.
    The collection will soon be offered for purchase on the Mey & Edlich website. A number of pieces are also available on-site in our museum shop during the exhibition period.

    Past Events

      Eliza Douglas, Selbstporträt, 2022, © Eliza Douglas
      Eliza Douglas, Selbstporträt, 2022, © Eliza Douglas

      Performance With Eliza douglas

      Thursday, 14.9.2023, 8:30 PM


      American artist Eliza Douglas will be presenting her first large-scale performance at the Kunstpalast on September 14th.  Entitled EVERYTHING DIES, the work draws conceptually upon tropes of the horror and gothic genres as well as dark subcultures. Through minimalist, gestural movements and carefully-staged environments, Douglas examines both the subversive potential and simultaneous commodification of these elements. Having been a long-standing collaborator in Anne Imhof’s durational installations, Douglas’ work for Death and the Devil is conceived and directed by her own hand.
      The performance will begin at 8:30 pm and is estimated to finish around 10 pm.

      Free entry

      Lordi, Photo: Eero Kokko
      Lordi, Photo: Eero Kokko


      Kunstpalast Open Air
      Saturday, 23 November 2023, 8 pm

      On 23 September 2023, Mey & Edlich invites the Finnish hard rock and heavy metal band Lordi on stage outside the Kunstpalast.
      With “Hard Rock Hallelujah” the group was the first metal band to win the Eurovision Song Contest – an event that kicked off their international career. Now the band’s monsters, zombies and trolls will deliver a performance for you that will rock the Kunstpalast.
      The 666 free tickets have already been snapped up – sorry!
      Tickets are available for purchase here.
      100 free tickets have been reserved for the Friends of the Kunstpalast.


      This free ride into the unknown will spare your pocket but not your nerves:
      From 13 to 17 September 2023, Mey & Edlich will treat you to a ride on the “Death and the Devil” ghost train outside the Kunstpalast, featuring classic eery characters as well as motifs from the exhibition. Get on board and get spooky!

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