Modernist aesthetic sense deficiency syndrome

Contemporary art in three churches in Innsbruck and Hall

From Ash Wednesday, works by contemporary artists will be on display in Innsbruck Cathedral, the Spitalskirche Innsbruck and the Stadtpfarrkirche Hall. While the examination of contemporary works of art has a long tradition in the cathedral, the Spitalskirche and the parish church in Hall are experiencing a premiere.

In Innsbruck Cathedral, an installation by the Graz-born artist Manfred Erjautz will be on display from Ash Wednesday. A bright red lettering shows the letters "ME", which can be read as "me". Reflected on the floor, it becomes "WE", which stands for "we". According to Provost Florian Huber, the light installation picks up on the tension between looking at one's own self and solidarity in the community. The red colour corresponds with the red of the image of grace by Lucas Cranach. A violet spotlight directed at the altar area and the image of Mary Help of Christians also has the effect of a Lenten cloth.

Christ Clock in the Innsbruck Hospital Church 

A work by Erjautz can also be seen in the hospital church in Innsbruck. "Your personal Jesus" is the name of the installation in which Erjautz has transformed an old Christ figure into a clock. The artist rescued the corpus from the rubbish years ago. He disassembled the corpus into three parts. The torso and legs show the hours, the arms the minutes and seconds. Erjautz borrowed the title of the work from a song by the pop group Depeche Mode. At the presentation of the installation, Bishop Hermann Glettler, who knows the artist personally, pointed out the challenge posed by the symbol of the cross: "The cross is neither an arbitrary decoration nor a sign of dominion. It has to be looked at and opened up anew." With his Jesus Clock in the baroque church interior, Manfred Erjautz not only provokes a new reflection on the cross, Glettler said. "He confronts us with serious questions that concern the essence of life: are we driven by time and the many demands, or do we create interruption?" Jesus gives a new quality to the time of life, he said, "In every moment it is possible to accept forgiveness, to begin anew and to give life a turn for the good," Glettler said. 

Bishop Vicar of the Church Jakob Bürgler is pleased about the Christ Clock in the hospital church. "We want to establish the church as a place where faith can be experienced in new and surprising ways," says Bürgler.

Sculptures in the City Parish Church of Hall-St. Nikolaus 

Sculptures by the South Tyrolean sculptor Lois Anvidalfarei can be seen in and in front of the Hall-St. Nikolaus parish church. Under the title "Mensch - wer bist du?" (Man - Who are you?), the works on display invite visitors to consider questions about man, God and suffering. Anvidalfarei's artistic work is also in the context of the visual language of Christian culture; human feelings, emotions and hardships are the themes that occupy the South Tyrolean sculptor, explains his fellow student and friend Magnus Pöhacker from Hall. The image of man that the artist creates is so clear in its formal language that it can be deciphered even by inexperienced viewers. While traditional ideas of the crucified or of martyrs are often no longer able to touch, Anvidalfarei's sculptures are able to "reactivate the sensibilities in different ways", says Pöhacker.

About the artists:

Manfred Erjautz 

Manfred Erjautz, born in Graz, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Bruno Gironcoli, is a member of the Vienna Secession and Forum Stadtpark, lives and works in Vienna. Erjautz has received several awards, including the Otto Mauer Prize, numerous exhibitions at home and abroad. A fountain by Manfred Erjautz can be seen in the courtyard of the seminary in Graz. In 2017 he showed the Christus-Uhr in the Konzilsgedächtniskirche in Vienna.

Lois Anvidalfarei 

Lois Anvidalfarei is one of the most important sculptors in the German-speaking world. Born in 1962 in Abtei in South Tyrol, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He runs the farm he inherited from his parents in Abtei and works as a freelance sculptor. Anvidalfarei's artistic work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium over the past three decades. Sacred works can be seen, among others, in the parish church of Sterzing, in the basilica of Mondsee or in the parish church of St. Pankraz. A sculpture by Anvidalfarei has been on display in the garden of the Hall district hospital since 2018, and works by him and his fellow artists can currently be seen at Gasthof Badl in Hall.