Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

Internationally renowned artist exhibits at Hove Church

Internationally renowned artist exhibits at Hove Church

An art installation by Robert Koenig

All Saints Hove is hosting an art installation by the internationally renowned sculptor Robert Koenig.

Twelve faces, each larger than life, reside under the Church’s impressive archways in the Nave, offering an artistic encounter that plays with similarity and difference.

Each face has been carved from the same wood, that of a two-hundred-year-old Elm, with the wood in various stages of decay, displaying a common origin, like the thread of our humanity leading us back to a common ancestor. And yet, each face is unique, some in whiter hues, another burnt and burnished with gold, others displaying the contours and spirals of their wooden grain. Their eyes gaze contemplatively and calmly into our own.

What might they say to us about our own humanity, what space might open up between them and us?

In the Christian and Jewish Scriptures the number twelve signifies completion and fullness. And so the twelve tribes represent Israel, that distinctive people caught between exodus and exile, travelling toward the promise of God which is ever before them. Or else we are reminded of the twelve apostles, bearers of Jesus’ message of inclusive love in which the stranger is embraced and supposed enemies turn out to be friends.

And if there is Scriptural resonance here, then there is also a mythical resonance with the faces displaying something of the oracles of ancient Greece perhaps, or even the forest spirits of Druidic lore. Such faces are not easily assimilated into our world, and so remain as those of the outsider and the stranger, of cultures of difference that can be perceived in terms of promise or threat. Placed in the magnificent ecclesial context of All Saints, such faces join those of others in carved stone, wood and of stained glass, figures that speak of the sacred and the unknown, that call us into a deeper world of meaning and encounter, as wide eyes and questioning faces beckon us forwards into the mystery and beauty of God.

Visitors are welcome to view the exhibition during weekly and weekend services while additional opening times are being arranged. Church opening time here

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sutherland-Rowe