Sunday, September 6, 2009

German Jesuit: Mixed Media

Jesuit Scholar Brings Contemporary Art into Historic Churches

WORCESTER, Mass. – Rev. Friedhelm Mennekes, S.J., a visiting international Jesuit scholar at the College of the Holy Cross, will give an illustrated lecture titled “On the Sacredness of Emptiness: Contemporary Art and Religion at St. Peter's Jesuit-Church in Cologne,” on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. in the College’s Rehm Library. The lecture, presented by the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is free and open to the public.

For more than three decades, Fr. Mennekes has focused on fostering a dialogue between the world of faith and the world of contemporary art. He has written extensively on the spiritual dimension in artistic works and

“on the disastrous relationship between modern art and the Christian churches.”
In 1979, he started an exhibition program of contemporary art in sacred spaces, first at the church of St. Markus, Frankfurt, and later at the church of St. Peter's, Cologne, with its annex, the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, a center of contemporary art and modern music that he founded. Fr. Mennekes invited some of the world’s leading contemporary artists—including Josef Albers, Francis Bacon, Anish Kapoor, Barbara Kruger, David Salle and Cindy Sherman—to install site-specific works in the still-active parishes.

Since 2003, he has worked on a project for young artists in the Kurdish part of Iraq. It is a regular collaboration between the Art Laboratory, Suleimanyah (Iraq) and the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, Cologne. Fr. Mennekes has traveled to Iraq and organized three exhibitions of Kurdish artists from Iraq in St. Peter's, Cologne and the Art Academy of Leipzig, Germany.

Fr. Mennekes is professor emeritus of pastoral theology and sociology of religion at Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, Frankfurt, Germany. Until recently he was also pastor of the Jesuit Church of St. Peter's, Cologne, Germany. He is currently teaching a seminar titled “New Art in Sacred Spaces” in the visual arts department at the College.

Link (here)

Photo of Fr. Friedhelm Mennekes, S.J. (here) with artist Hermann Nitsch.

No comments: