Kurt Cobain’s Ashes Get Smoked For Art

Apparently, in this modern age we live in, art isn’t just a picture on a wall which some poor bastard has spent years carefully colouring in.

Oh no, these days you can say that burning a shopping trolley demonstrates excess anger and throwing pool balls at walls is a metaphor for breaking boundaries – not for pissing off people. And now Australian artist Natascha Stellmach is using the remains of Kurt Cobain to investigate suicide and the power of desecration.

Kurt Cobain did the exact same thing with a shotgun.

We also thought that foreign people were a bit mental. But this proves it. The exhibition, which is being held in Berlin is gathering multiple numbers of nutjob artists to use human remains as a medium for art; Danish artist Marco Evarissti, for example, plans to feed death row inmate Gene Hathorn to goldfish upon his execution. Why, we don’t know, but we assume the RSPCA will be on the phone deeming this to be an act of animal cruelty.

Quite how Natascha Stellmach came to posses the ashes of the former Nirvana frontman is a mystery in itself. We assumed that Courtney Love would literally have them strung round her neck, keeping would-be thieves away with brooms.

Even for our standards smoking Kurt Cobain’s ashes is pretty fucking strange, but apparently the event isn’t a pisstake. So if you happen to be in Berlin or are planning a trip, go see a woman smoke a dead man. Is it cannibalism? We’re not sure.

The full press release for the event tries to explains the whole warped point of the exhibition. It also saves us having to try and work it out. Though, it’s still utterly confusing as to why anyone would want to do this, or even care:

Australian-born Natascha Stellmach claims to have acquired the ashes of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Now she’s transformed the grunge star’s remains into an installation titled Set Me Free, that investigates suicide and the power of desecration.

With this work, Stellmach joins a number of artists to use human remains as a medium; Danish artist Marco Evarissti plans to feed death row inmate Gene Hathorn to goldfish upon his execution.

Stellmach’s work comprises a “death cycle” of five pieces. The first, a suicide contemplation, titled It is Black in Here, is a sound piece. Written and read by the artist, it was recorded onto a specifically pressed record and is played on a vintage record player.

The six-minute poetic meditation on death’s proximity ends with the word ‘Gone’. Near Death Experience, is a text-based work where Kurt Cobain, Adolf Hitler, Diane Arbus and the Brothers Grimm meet in a twilight zone. Two more works, Black Scan and Untitled, build to the final work: Gone. In Gone, Stellmach presents a joint containing Cobain’s ashes, which is held in an antique case engraved with the work’s title. Stellmach intends to smoke this joint in a secret Berlin location. This act, according to the artist, will release Cobain “into the ether from the media circus.”

Asked how she came to have Cobain’s ashes, let alone smoke them, Stellmach told Artworld: “That’s confidential and kind of magic. They came to me.”

Until October 11

Gallerie Wagner + Partner, Berlin


  1. Mithaearon says

    Someone should point out to the fucking spanner bitch that you cant burn and smoke ash. If you could smokers would jsut be recycleing their cigarettes.

  2. Julian Mentat says

    >> This act, according to the artist, will release
    >> Cobain “into the ether from the media circus”

    You saw that; the artist made a legally binding promise.
    If, after the show, the ‘ether’ does not contain Kurt Cobain, you should claim a refund of your entry fee from the gallery.

  3. says

    “Australian-born Natascha”
    I swear that not all Aussies are obsessed with fiddling with the ashes of the (recently) deceased!

    Although, having said that, my local trendy Art Gallery, Vine-yard, Concert venue (we saw De La Soul there) have the following really cool idea.

    They want to make pencils out of charcoal and ashes of dead people that you can then scrawl graffiti or such-like on the gallery walls. Using a dead person.

    Great idea. You could write “DONT KILL YOURSELF KURT!!” But it might have to be with your Grandfather ashes instead of Kurts as another Aussie has those.

    Google “moorila estate, dead person ashes” if you don’t believe me.

  4. Sarah says

    this chick is really fucking gullible if she thinks that she really has curt cobain’s ashes. i’ve got a bridge for sale if anyone’s got her number, it’s a real nice one, quite close to brooklyn…