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Supermarket of the Dead


Fire offerings in China and the Cult of Globalised Consumption. Proposition III.

One of the most ancient forms of Chinese spirituality proves to be a living tradition, still widely practised everywhere in Chinese culture. Paper replicas of money and goods are ritually burned as offerings to win the favour of ancestors, gods and spirits.

These paper models have recently undergone a kind of transformation, in which imitations of traditional objects have been superseded by replicas of consumer goods found in western shopping habits. An alternative world made of paper, encompassing all today’s globalised brand consumption fetishes, Gucci bags, Prada shoes, mobile phones, Apple computers and even Heineken beer cans and life-size cars, is committed to the flames as a tribute to the ancestors.

A Supermarket of the Dead installed on the Reception Floor of the Dresden Residenzschloss displays a mountain of these strangely familiar yet somehow alien goods. This gives rise to significant insights: it reveals the compulsive effects worldwide of the West's worship of brand names and designer labels. The speed with which Chinese society has aligned itself with a global system of needs can be discerned and linked to a cult which is almost two thousand years old. One becomes aware too of the quasi-religious fetishism inherent in the consumption of branded products, whose benefits for the consumer lie not in their use but in participation in a system of meanings – and hence a theurgic relationship. Burnt offerings and brand status are united by the logic of representational magic, in which purposes are fulfilled vicariously through the image.


Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
(Dresden State Art Collections)
Reception Floor of the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace)

Title of the Exhibition:
Supermarket of the Dead. Fire offerings in China and the Cult of Globalised Consumption. Proposition III.
Period of Time:
March 14 to May 10, 2015
Installed Projection Systems :
14 x Derksen PHOS mini, projecting the annotations

Wolfgang Scheppe
Exhibition Design:
Wolfgang Scheppe, Sara Codutti
Klinkenbusch + Kunze
Lighting Design:
Paul Göschel

Photo Credits:
#01: © SKD, Foto: Adrian Sauer
#02, #03: © SKD, Photos: SKD

Ruhrlights 2010


In the rural countryside of the lower Ruhr valley that’s known for its agriculture, nature and industrial culture, the European Capital Of Culture "RUHR 2010" presents 11 internationally acclaimed light artists. From September 2010 the festivals “Ruhrlights: Twilight zone” transforms the Ruhr valley between Hagen and Duisburg into a fascinating route of light.

Andreas M. Kaufmann has in the frame of his project “Dem Ort seine Sprache” (The place of their speech) illuminated two particular constructions on the Ruhr. The first is an old industry wall on the Heinrichshuette in Hattingen and the other is the ruins of castle Hardenstein near Witten, both lying directly on the banks of the Ruhr.


The technique
Using powerful outside projectors provided by Derksen Lichttechnik Kaufmann projected words with the Ruhr areas particular accent onto the buildings. Ten projectors were needed to cover the whole area and working hand in hand with the artist the projected words were eventually seen in what appeared to be a seamless flowing text. The inevitable blurring which would have occurred because of the different stand points of the projectors was pre-calculated and measured to prevent it. 

Nature and environmental protection
A further problem was how to ensure nature and the environment were protected. An allowance for the project was only granted with the condition that nearby night active animal life and insects wouldn't be affected by so called "light smog." All conditions were fulfilled by exact calculations and measurements of the gobos projection onto the intended back-drop.

The effect
With the coming of twilight one sees these particularly special places in a new context as words of wisdom which are hidden during the hours of daylight slowly evolve in an enveloping text of light. The buildings become a writing board and a symbol which are visible from great distances in the river rich countryside.


Heinrichshütte, Hattingen
Castle Hardenstein, Witten-Herbede

Markus Lueck

Artistic Concept:

Andreas M. Kaufmann

Ruhrlights: Twilight Zone

Outdoor Projection At The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum


For more than a hundred years the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum has presented non-European history, art and culture in North Rhine-Westphalia. As a public institution it encourages the understanding and tolerance in a society that is increasingly dominated by a multicultural coexistence.

The new building near the Neumarkt in Cologne was opened after eight years of construction in October 2010. The proximity to the inner city and the excellent public transport connection make the museum an attraction for an international audience. The huge Indonesian rice storage in the central foyer creates a new cultural emblem.

The main entrance is located on the north side of the new building, on a major thoroughfare. Information on current exhibitions and programs is projected with light onto the façade, using two graphic projectors - GL 1200 EL - from the German projection specialist Derksen Lichttechnik. The devices are mounted in front of the main entrance on a street lighting pole and project images at a height of ten meters onto the left and center wings of the building. Distortions resulting from the oblique angle of projection have been excluded in the preparation of the images, so that text and graphics are displayed in the correct aspect ratio.

The projection technology provides owners with two key advantages: first, messages can be placed without on-site changes to the facade, on the other hand, the motives can be changed easily and inexpensively.


Cäcilienstraße 29-33
50676 Cologne

Markus Lueck

Schneider & Sendelbach, Brunswick

RheinEnergie AG, Cologne

Project Planning:
Gerhard Kleiker, RheinEnergie AG