Monday, November 9, 2009

If bodies were buildings

If my spine were a building, I would collapse.

I learned this after looking at my x-rays from my visit Saturday to my new chiropractor Dr. Stephen Costantino (I would recommend him to any St. Louisian reading this).

My sudden, recent pain is certainly linked to my new work station in a tilted attic room; I'll take steps to remedy my desk and computer disposition immediately. What caused my long-term internal listing could be many things, but I blame it mostly on a life spent bowing my head, reading books. Yet another hazard of my profession.

My rather distressing x-rays made me think of Wim Delvoye, a Belgian artist with whom I did a studio visit several years ago while on a trip sponsored by the Flemish government.

Delvoye digs into old technologies and infuses them with new light, as in the way he uses sometimes sexy, sometimes distressing images in his stained glass windows.

In the chapel image above Delvoye has matched his imagery with the delicate tracery carved into medieval chapels of Europe. It is often hard to believe that those slender, brittle bones of stone allow for an intimate feeling within the soaring heights of Gothic Cathedrals, but they do. This is why those churches are such enduring icons of spiritual faith.

Lest you think Delvoye only celebrates the microcosm inside the macrocosm of the Church, look at this other image, a dolled up killing field.

Given the great irony of his other works it is clear Delvoye does not hold harmless the pieties of faith of any sort--each has created its own killing fields.

Gothic Cathedrals stand today as monuments to the past. I am not an obsessive materialist--millions of things have been made over time, millions have been lost but many remain--but I hope art work like Delvoye's endures past our time as testament to the on-going testament to great human creation and great human destruction.

bottom two images from Wim Delvoye's website.

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