The mystery of the Incarnation is explored in a major new work created as a contemplative piece for Advent, in which a hidden light is made manifest to invite the possibility of discernment.
The installation consists of a custom-made length of white neon concealed within a silver-gilded steel tube that renders the light invisible to the viewer. In this confined space the light enters a metaphysical state alluding to the Incarnation, the Nativity and a contemporary understanding of the Resurrection.
The tube is the principal component of the installation. Its feature of a gold-gilded chi-rho symbol was an accidental visual motif from the Paschal candle, but which markedly transformed the object in the studio in the act of the gilding – and with surprising deftness, took the ownership of the work out of my hands.
The piece is supported by two readings, one from the Orthodox Akathist Hymn and the other from the Emmaus story in the Gospel of Luke. Each once again made an unexpected connection with the adjacent windows within the spectacular Christ Church near Sefton Park in Liverpool.
Visitors were encouraged to sit in the choir stalls and enter into a state of discernment in which the question of presence or absence is explored. An adjacent media device revealed something of the living presence within the installation which might not have been initially apparent.
Christ Church is a grade II-listed church of national importance, noted for its remarkable WWI memorial brasses which are the finest in the city. The artist has dedicated the piece to the memory of all those inscribed.
Exhibited: Christ Church, Toxteth Park, 24 November – 15 December 2019
Rev Keith Hitchman, Annette James and the Christ Church community.