A second sculpture is “banned” from the “Croce del Redentore” (Cross of the Redeemer) show in Carrara


A second work appears to have been excluded from the “Croce del Redentore” exhibition curated by the Diocese of Massa Carrara, which opened this week. The work – pictured above – is by Sylvie Van Den Broeck, and Franz Messer. Van Den Broeck is Belgian, and Messer is German – both are 26-years old and students of the Accademia di Carrara.

The statue depicts the full figure of Gesus, hands outstretched – in the typical fashion of the Christ Reborn – but whereas the details of the lower part of the body are rendered painstakingly, the face, or rather the whole head of the Christ is an unfinished stone. The Church has issued a statement explaining their decision, and they underscore that the exhibition was set up to showcase works showing the Redeemer on the cross – or crucifixes… or, well focused more on the icky part of the whole story. The artists have questioned the Diocese’s decision claiming that perhaps their work just may be too much of a provocation. They insist that the message of the sculpture is closer to the message of the Church that preceded the Catholic Church – dwelling on  the more metaphysical aspects.

Their professor at the Academy Giovanni Chiapello wrote to the students striking a conciliatory – yet firm – tone: “I write this note to clear up just a few tiny things, without entering into a judgement of the artistic merits of the excluded sculpture, I would like to remind everyone that the students were participating in a “concorso” – a commission – by the Church of Massa for the sculpting of a cross or crucifix, the requirements for which were clearly stated to the students by the Diocese during various meetings at the Accademia. And since the statue presented by the students represents a woman” (there seems to be some confusion over the gender of the figure… it does look more like the feminine body of a Madonna but the students claim it’s the figure of Christ – ndr) “which seems to have little or nothing to do with the commission’s requirements,” continues the professor, “it’s as if – and I just use this anecdote as an example – an artist presented a portrait of Garibaldi’s wife Anita to an open commission for the portrait of Garibaldi.”

You get the general gist of the official response, the professor does end his note with a few words of support for the students, saying: “I want to tell the kids to continue working in sculpture with dedication, many before them have been excluded from exhibitions, and commissions, by mediocre judges and not for this, or maybe only because of this, they went on to become great artists. I wish them this with all my heart.”

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.

Visit the Diocese’s webpage – in Italian – on the exhibition, linked here.

“Croce del Redentore”
Until the 26th of April, 2014
Church of the Madonna delle Lacrime

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