Friday, May 25, 2012
Shortly before its 25th Anniversary Year, the Art-Station Saint Peter in Cologne cancelled an exhibition. The reason- pigs that were nailed to the Cross were to be seen in two pictures of an Austrian artist (who comes from near to Linz, whose inhabitants seems to specialise in this sort of thing, not least the Shrine of Judas).
On 29th June, the Art-Station Saint Peter celebrates its 25th anniversary, but certainly now it has increased audience attention. At short notice, the exhibition, planned for 25th May, by the Austrian painter Siegfried Anzinger (right) was cancelled by long-time curator of the Art Station, Guido Schlimbach (left)
Schlimbach feared that two of the 18 images which showed crucified pigs in the sacred space of the church would lead to misunderstandings and may interfere with the religious peace of the parish community.
The images are from the Jerome Cycle- the picture of St Jerome,
And for comparison
In discussion with the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger", Schlimbach said that he found the decision, which was taken jointly with Father Werner, very difficult. The reason that he invited Siegfried Anzinger to St. Peter, is that he had used many times before biblical motifs almost without ceasing, and he wanted to see how the Art Station audience, who are familier with mainly abstract works of art, would react. For the crucifixion of "an almost sweet Piglet," said Schlimbach, he was not prepared, adding: "I'm afraid that I would be under great pressure to give an explanation to the community"
To the objection that he must have known what he was associating himself with, Schlimbach replied:
"Siegfried Anzinger has specifically designed the painting for the Art Station and painted it in the last four to five weeks," and he also had expected the motive of the crucified pig to be with linked to the flesh and blood imagery of Hermann Nitsch. In the pig as shown, he could not in any case recognize the oppressed creature that Anzinger had in mind. "But you must say that to the artist's face."
In the meantime, Father Friedhelm Mennekes SJ, founder and long-time director of the Art Station Sankt Peter has also commented to the newspaper about the cancelling of the exhibition. He pointed to the rich tradition of the crucifixion motif, to the derision that Christianity once had suffered through the representation of a crucified donkey, and also to the "Jewish pig" in Cologne Cathedral. All these elements played into Anzingers work- he himself had exhibited a butterfly crucified by Markus Lüpertz in St. Peter's. "I hope that the cancellation was not a case of anticipatory obedience to ecclesiastical authority," said Mennekes in conclusion. (Cathcon- no wonder the Jesuits are the worst hit of the orders after the Council. They were set up on army lines by St Ignatius with a specific oath of obedience to the Pope. Now they are a bunch of ecclesiastical anarchists no longer of capable of fighting)
It is precisely this fear Guido Schlimbach tried to dispel when talking to the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" . The Art Station is after all not an art hall, but a house of God: "We derive life from the whole life of the community." A crucified pig in oil next to a crucifix is not easy in this context - and as Anzinger totally refused to compromise, the cancellation could not be avoided. "I'm sure," said Schlimbach, "Mennekes would not have put on the exhibition." (Cathcon- see his comments above which go in the opposite direction.)
Herr Anzinger's other work includes the Annunciation
And the Madonna
His Our Lady of the Blue Jumper
It is not as if they do not know what real art is- a Madonna in the possession of the parish
St Peter's Church in Cologne is indeed half a church and half a permanent installation of hyper-modern art. Some scenes of parochial life.
Mass getting out of hand
You know you are among modernists, when they meet under the Banner of the Bar Code.
For comparison a banner based on Raphael's Banner of the Cross
Mass really got out of hand- or is it an art installation?
Mini-Stealth priestesses in training
The Jewish Mezuzah attached to the entrance door
Pretending to be a synagogue is not the only pretension around here.
Their principal altar
Their old principal altar- now in a side aisle
The altar in its original position- Oil Barrel Mass
And in its old position again- under threat from headless zombies
On another altar, instead of the Cross, the distorting mirror of modernism
Batty exhibition in the ambulatory
Modernism has filled the church with straw
Or feathers blown about in the wind
(provided by the small fans at the base, I think)
Or scaffolding that goes nowhere
Are they, in fact, under alien influence?
The permanent illuminated sign on the tower