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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Peças de Altar / Altarpieces

Issue: Altarpieces

Values: 6.00 and 10.00 DKK

Issue: 16-IX-2009

Photos: Per á Hæd

Perforation: 13 × 2cm

Technique: Offset


Growth, light and life

The church in Hattarvík (1899) and the church in Vestmanna (1895) have at least three things in common:

* The same man – P.C. Johannesen, Petur í Mattalág (1850-1922) – was in charge of the construction of both. He was also responsible for the construction of the church in Sumba (1886), the church in Skopun (1897) and the church in Kvívík (1903).
* Both of the churches have an altarpiece made by a Faroese artist in this century.
* Both altarpieces are singular in the Faroes where most altarpieces are oilpaintings.

The altarpiece in Hattarvík

Artist: Oggi Lamhauge, b.1971
“In Him was life”

The work consisting of twelve copperplates in a triptych framed by two equally tall prints is a graphic unit.

On the prints of the triptych are figures with spherical points depicting life: the crown of a tree, flowerbuds, live cells and, finally, human beings with their heads.
In the first group the lines travel upwards from below. They remind us of life and growth. By now life has begun.
In the centre group the opposites of light and colours are visible. In some of the prints the light travels in a circle, in others upwards from below.
In the third group the lines of the prints entangle themselves in one another. They delineate man’s coexistence with the light, with God. Macrocosm, the world that is so huge that we are very far from grasping it in its entirety, and microcosm, the infinitely small world of particles, draw our attention to the fact that there might be as far up to the largest as there is down into the smallest.
The spaces between the plates of the triptych form three crosses – the crosses of Golgotha.
The framing prints both depict life on Earth, the endlessly repeated circuit of life. The circles are open, and the lines penetrating them represent God’s lines of life.

Thus this work of art depicts the infinite cycle on Earth and God’s line of measured time.

The altarpiece in Vestmanna

Designed by Astrid Andreasen, b.1948, made by Katrin Andreasen, b.1971.
“Where the brightest light shines”
Very often altarpieces – in gloomy colours – depict the distressing Passion of Christ. But the altarpiece in the church in Vestmanna, the tree of life pictured from the crown down into the roots, calls to mind the famous grain of mustard seed that “becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it” (Marc 4, 32).

The large gilded cross (made of timber plated with pure gold, 24-carat) behind the tree betokens God Almighty.
The tree itself is made of the element aluminium and sprayed with car paint. On the bole of the tree are the colours brown, green and blue which represent earth, growth, heaven and sea. Residing in the tree and around it are snow-white enamel birds – human souls in the shape of doves. Their enchanting dancing movements bring to one’s mind light captivating music, the beauty in all of Creation – the bright side of life.

The church is the setting for all aspects of life, also those that are heart-breaking. If a person entering a church is greeted by a light altarpiece, this work of art is able to lift his spirit and thus render solace.

Both altarpieces touch on growth, light and life.

Marianna D. Dahl and Árni Dahl

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