Saturday, November 08, 2008

Eglise de Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Eglise de Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Further to my recent post on Sir Anthony Caro's Chapel of Light readers may find Ruth Gledhill`s post in The Times of interest.

She made a video with Sir Anthony Caro and his extraordinary Chapel of Light in Bourbourg.

She also has a piece in the Knowledge Section of The Times with more about Anthony Caro’s extraordinary renovation of the war-ravaged French church

"A Jewish atheist from North London might not appear to be the obvious choice to restore a medieval French chapel. But Sir Anthony Caro, who has made his name from works of steel rather than stone, has been given the job of restoring the war-damaged Roman Catholic church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Bourbourg, near Dunkirk in northern France.

However, when you see what the 84-year-old former pupil of Henry Moore has done with light, water, steel and wood you appreciate the logic of the commission, for this is not so much a repair job as a work of art."

"He has even sculpted a new altar for the church, beside which sits a 15th-century gilded Madonna, still a point of pilgrimage in an area of France that remains devoutly Catholic. Unusually, baptisms will be celebrated in Caro’s full-immersion font, one of just three to stand in the choir rather than by the main door at the west end of the Church. Sermons will be preached and hymns sung from the towers, two fantastic tree-like structures of oak, each with a staircase interspersed with seats inside where visitors can sit and meditate. These are grown-up versions of one of his best-known works, the Child’s Tower Room.

“We are living in an extremely materialistic world,” says Caro. “I think it is very important to help the spiritual side of our lives. So for this reason it is good to have a place where one can go and allow that side of one’s life to flourish. I hope people of all religions will use it to allow themselves to think and be tranquil and find that side of themselves.”

What it is about, he says, is humanity. “I have never wanted my sculpture, whether it is figurative or abstract, not to be about human people and human feeling. I thought when I was young I would never make sculpture that was abstract because I thought it was going to be very cold. In the end, I felt compelled to make abstract sculpture. I hope it is not cold. It has never been about theory. It has always been about feeling. I hope this place is about feeling.” "