Kunst Kappelle

Proposal for Skulptur-Biennale Munsterland-Kreis Borken 2005

Virus spent four days at the end of September in the Schoppingen area visiting various sites and absorbing the inherent atmosphere of the area. Speaking and understanding little of the German language meant that an intuitive approach to the project outline was adopted and notions of latency were underpinned by the difficulties of comprehension.

The Schoppingen Berg established itself as a landscape that had a strong physical and theoretical framework. Gridded road, track and path systems; huge wind turbines invisibly generating energy; mysterious stone markers; the Kapelles next to oak trees; shelters for cyclists and dog walkers; kite flying and the views from the area; all act as punctuation points on various routes of pilgrimage.

The Kapelles found in the locality were of particular interest in relation to ideas of imperceptibility and personal confrontation with latent history. The cryptic artefacts in the Kapelles act as transistors of meaning. The direction of the altars relates to how the viewer is orientated in the space. The roofs pointing skyward imply the potential for reverent communication. The action of cleaning the soles of your shoes prior to entering. The bars separating the public from the altar. The hidden knowledge of accepted systems of belief.

Through the distillation and re-modelling of elements from existing Kapelles and considering their function and location in this elevated area, Virus proposes to construct a Kunst Kapelle (see model and map). The site proposed is on the main route from Schoppingen to Berg Kapelle and, like the Kapelle, at a crossroads. This sculpture takes its inspiration from the dormant qualities of the existing Kapelles and intends to acknowledge and adapt to the elements of its location. Its architectural ambiguity opens up the potential for individual interpretation prompted but unlimited by inherited knowledge. The Kunst Kapelle should stand distinctly but individual components will be reminiscent of the Kapelles that inspire it.

The crux of the work is in the secluded chamber at one corner, only seen from two of the vertical sides of the concrete base. A sculptural interpretation of the latent history of the rural area will be placed in this vitrine. Carving this object in stone acknowledges the traditional skills used in religious iconography, sculpture and architecture. This chamber could be interpreted as the altar of the Kapelle containing the ‘bones’ of the idea; relating to the latent belief that the bones of a saint are found in the altars of catholic churches.

The glass canopy provides shelter overhead but being open at the sides allows a wider experience of the weather elements than existing Kapelles.
The steel bars holding up the canopy relate to the iron bars in the Kapelles acting as a division between the viewer and the altar.
The channel on the concrete base acts as drainage for rain water from the canopy. It was noted on the visit that there are oak trees next to most Kapelles. A glass tumbler shaped void in this channel owes something to Michael Craig-Martin’s An Oak Tree (1973).
The foot grille is directly distilled from the Kapelles. When standing on the sculpture the skeleton of the work is located under the feet. The foot grille becomes an important theoretical and practical cleansing device.

Virus believes that these complex and cryptic details are an essential product of collaboration and, in this instance, might establish a form of oral tradition amongst the visiting population, perhaps developing a new form of folklore.

To ensure the fabric of the sculpture fits appropriately in Kreis Borken all work intends to be carried out in the area using local industry and materials. The concrete base will be cast using locally sourced cement. The glass canopy should be manufactured in the area and supported by steel bars made by a local metal fabrication company. Directional plaques (example enclosed) will be placed as markers throughout the Schoppingen Berg area detailing directions to the Kunst Kapelle and suggesting times of visit. This creates another route of pilgrimage and pays respect to the local environment and the various ways it is used.

Kunst Kapelle is real to the area, referencing the surrounding environment and triggering the potential of personal interpretation. Whilst acknowledging the local latent history, the work intends to establish a platform for contemplation and questioning, examining the artefacts and physical processes in systems of belief and understanding.

V I R U S 10.04

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