We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $23,735 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Cardinal emphasizes importance of contemporary art as Holy See takes part in exhibition

Catholic World News - May 15, 2013

The head of a Vatican dicastery said at a May 14 press conference that his pontifical council “holds contemporary art at the heart of its interests.”

The Holy See is joining six dozen other nations in hosting a pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, a leading contemporary art exhibition that will take place this year from June 1 to November 24.

“The Pontifical Council for Culture holds contemporary art at the heart of its interests, for it is one of the most important cultural expressions of recent decades,” said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“We have chosen a theme that is fundamental for culture and for Church tradition,” he continued. “The first 11 chapters [of Genesis] have been chosen, as they are dedicated to the mystery of man’s origins, the introduction of evil into history, and our hope and future projects after the devastation symbolically represented by the Flood. Wide-ranging discussions on the multiplicity of the themes offered by this inexhaustible source led to three thematic areas being chosen with which the artists have engaged: Creation, De-Creation (Uncreation), and the New Man or Re-Creation.”

“The theme of Creation was entrusted to Studio Azzurro, which places the immaterial image, light, sound, and sensory stimuli at the center of their artistic investigation, reflecting on the perceptive dimension of space as a locus of interrelationships through a thoughtful use of new media,” said Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, as he described the interactive videoinstallation, produced in 2013, that will form the first part of the Holy See’s pavilion.

“In terms of De-Creation (Uncreation) … Josef Koudelka’s photographs were chosen and organized by the artist himself into a specific and extremely evocative sequence, where themes such as the destruction brought about by war, the material and conceptual consumption of history through time, and the two opposing poles of nature and industry are made to emerge,” Paolucci continued as he discussed the 2010-11 photographic triptych from inkjet that will form the second part of the Holy See’s pavilion.

“With the Re-Creation we concentrate on the activity of Lawrence Carroll, and in particular those aspects of his work tied to salvaged materials and the processes of transfiguration, which the artist presents both realistically and symbolically together,” Paolucci added as he described Nothing Gold Can Stay, the 2013 work made from oil, wax, canvas, wire, and light bulbs that will form the third part of the Holy See’s pavilion.

“The Holy See’s decision has come at a time when contemporary art, once the focus of a small minority, has broken its boundaries and is now appreciated by an expanding audience; in short, it has become popular,” commented Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale.

Pictures of the three works that will be featured in the Holy See’s pavilion may be viewed via the link entitled “Pavilion of the Holy See at the Venice Biennial.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($23,735 to go):
$25,400.00 $1,665.00
93% 7%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 16, 2013 2:20 AM ET USA

    Perhaps there's more to it, but the three works shown in the news.va story range from the puzzling to the downright ugly. I don't see what the Church has to gain by bowing to "contemporary" degeneracy in art.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines April 24
A More Militant Church? April 24
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops April 24
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot April 24
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? April 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21