The Man Who Bears the Cross
As a city guide I regularly visit the cathedral. My guiding career started here too, so I have a certain connection with this building and its artwork. Since 2015 there has been a contemporary work of art that interests me. It was designed by Jan Fabre, an Antwerp artist. I have already discussed another work in Antwerp: his works in the AMUZ. If you are in the cathedral, go for a drink or something small to eat at De Plek.
The man who bears the cross
The bronze statue has the unambiguous title ‘The man who bears the cross’. It reminds me of another well-known work by him: ‘The man who measures the clouds’ from 1998, which is on top of the deSingel. They both introduce the artist himself. In this image, he balances a 4 meter high cross in his hand. A cross that symbolizes Christianity and Christ. Everyone has to balance with his or her cross in life. Pastor Bart Paepen says about this:
Take the cross for yourself, a sign of God’s love for all people, a sign of the commitment He requires from his followers. Pick up and balance the cross. You may not be able to hold it upright. Maybe it is too heavy or too difficult. You may have to try again later. You may not like it, you may drop it. Who knows, it might work and it feels right. Then it may be that you have found direction and meaning in life.
This statue is the first new work of art in the cathedral since 1924! It is on loan here, so it is not owned by the Church. The artist, Jan Fabre, chose the place where it stands now. It is connected to the famous masterpiece ‘The Descent from the Cross’ by Rubens, which is entirely dedicated to ‘carrying Christ’. Fabre also does not like daylight, there is daylight here, but it is tempered by the stained glass windows.
Like Fabre’s other works in public space, it suggests an activity on the verge of contradiction. Everyone knows that the ruler of the cloud meter is too short to measure the ‘sky’, you can’t hold the csoss for long, yet the artist continues to do it. He brings hope.
THe man who bears the cross
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