German artist Gregor Schneider has come up with the idea of putting dying people on exhibition as a way of normalizing the issue of death.Setting aside the whole voyeuristic aspect, what's especially thought-provoking about this story is that it's a symptom of modern society's desire to hide death. Assuming this guy is sincere (rather than simply sensationalistic), he's certainly reacting against a tendency to deny the reality of death.
"Unfortunately today, death and the road to death are about suffering. Coming to terms with death as I plan it can take away the pain of dying for us," said the country's most controversial artist.
"I want to display a person dying naturally in the piece or somebody who has just died," he said, claiming this way a taboo could be done away with.
Justifying the bizarre proposal, he added an artist can contribute something to this issue by building places where people can die with dignity.
The artist achieved prominence at the 2001 Biennale Venice Film Festival where he received the Golden Lion award for his "totes Haus ur" or "Dead House Ur", a complex of 22 rooms and dead-end paths, and is of domestic and international renown for his morbid interior installations.
Of course, despite this, his approach is fundamentally unsatisfactory - his attempt to normalize death misses one of the central Christian insights about death. It's a scandal. We're not supposed to die. Death is linked directly to sin. Therefore, we can never truly understand it as something we can be neutral towards, something we can treat as fully natural. However, because of Christ's death on the Cross, we can understand the evil of death as being an evil which can be turned to a good end. Meditating on our mortality puts life in its proper perspective; facing the evil of death with hope, confidence and resignation to God's will has ever been the Christian path from this life to the next.