A few weeks ago a you Polish artist asked me if he could put an installation in the Church. This is something I have always been wary of, especially at Brighton Festival time. One year, as a deanery, we agreed to co-operate, and it was pretty frightening, on Church had a whole lot of legs going down the aisle another a little drama before Mass (being Brighton a few people in the congregation thought it was a couple of drunks and threw them out). Another Church had something which involved a font or a fountain which some people though of as blasphemous. Because our Church is a bit dark we have normally escaped the worst excesses. The trouble is of course most artists do not really have much faith, they see things in terms of symbolism or even irony, or have some vague notion of being "spiritual" which generally means being incarnate.
Anyhow I was looking for an excuse to gently say, "No," to this artist.
Well this morning Emanuel Kaja came to see me and I agreed. he is going to put a an eight foot high perspex, wood, stone and wire installation in the back of the Church.
The stones symbolise separate human beings. Each of them is marked with a different name to represent Christ sacrifice for all. The also represent human sin that brought Christ to the Cross. Each stone is wrapped with wire which represents toil and sorrow that make us fall repeatedly. Having died Christ turns our hearts of stone into something alive, into his body. The mock-up is from Emmanuel's studio, his intention is that it should be in the Church through out May.
I am quite looking forward to seeing it and to hearing people's reaction. I am concerned that we Christians really don't have a way of dialoguing with artists and of communicating the Catholic faith visually. The things that move my heart are often non-verbal, human interaction, signs, symbols, music, the interaction of words, the problem is so many modern artistic statements are abstractions, denials of incarnation, statements of the distance of God, even distortions of the nature of God. I am fascinated by the idea of orthodox thought and the visual expression of it.
I am sure that many of you will want to comment on this installation and the quality of modern art but I would be very interested to know about good orthodox Catholic artists, especially if they have a website.
There will be more photographs when it is up.