Holy Cross to Install Monumental Floating Sculpture in Chapel

Unique installation to foster dialogue on faith and contemporary art

WORCESTER, Mass. – The St. Joseph Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross will be the site for “Curalium,” an original, contemporary sculptural installation by German artist Angela Glajcar from March 25 – May 16, 2011. Hundreds of sheets of shorn fiberglass fabric will create the monumental, curving, floating sculpture above the main aisle of the Chapel—necessitating that worshipers encounter their sacred space in a new way.

The project, unique in the United States, is designed to foster a dialogue between the world of faith and the world of contemporary art. It is modeled after the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, in Cologne, Germany, a functioning parish that also serves as a center for contemporary art and music. Kunst-Station founder, Rev. Friedhelm Mennekes, S.J., a visiting art critic in the Department of Visual Arts at Holy Cross, is shepherding the project here.

“We want to begin a conversation about what is sacred, what the Holy means, and where we find it,” said Thomas M. Landy, director of the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, which is sponsoring the installation. “There’s a danger that such a great, classically designed space can become a museum, not fully able to respond to anything contemporary. We believe that Glajcar’s vision will bring people to see and appreciate an amazing sacred space in new ways.”

Glajcar’s work explores the spatial effects of large-scale sculpture created from lightweight, sensitive and easily harmed material. The artist is also interested in the play of light on the plain white medium. Tearing the sheets to create caverns in the sculpture further reduces its heft while breaking away its internal spaces to the light.

“I always try to create a relation between the space, the sculpture, and the spectator. When looking at sculpture, people should feel. The emotional reaction is first; the intellectual reaction comes later,” said Glajcar. “What is fundamental is a spectator’s readiness to enter into a dialogue.”

Glajcar was born in Mainz, Germany in 1970. She studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and has held teaching positions there, at FH Mainz, and the universities of Giessen and Dortmund. She was awarded the Emy Roeder Prize and the ZVAB Phoenix Art Prize and was featured in the 2008 Holland Paper Biennial. Her recent works include large paper installations in Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, and her exhibitions in the Romanesque church ruins at Abbey of Alspach (Alsace), Kaysersberg (Alsace) and the Kunstverein Siegen. This is her first exhibition in the United States.

The St. Joseph Memorial Chapel opened in 1924 as a memorial to those who perished in World War I. The church, designed by Charles D. Maginnis, was inspired by an Italian Renaissance basilica, incorporating features of Jesuit architecture first expressed in the church of Gesu in Rome.

For more information and images, visit www.holycross.edu/crec.

VIEWING INFORMATION: St. Joseph Memorial Chapel will be open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for viewing. Mass is celebrated in the Chapel on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. During the Holy days, April 22-24, the Chapel will be open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be an additional Mass on Palm Sunday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m.

For directions, please visit http://www.holycross.edu/directions.


German Mass Sunday, March 27, 11:30 a.m. Rev. Friedhelm Mennekes, S.J., visiting art critic in the Department of Visual Arts at Holy Cross, will preside over a special Mass in German and English, featuring German music for chorus and organ. The Mass will be followed by an optional buffet lunch in Kimball Dining Hall ($8 adults, $5 children).

Artist Talk: Angela Glajcar Sunday, March 27, 2 p.m. Artist Angela Glajcar will talk about her work in the St. Joseph Memorial Chapel. The talk will be mostly in German, with English translation. Free.