Archive for the ‘Church Architecture’ Category

Euro-Continental Pro America Church “Paul Gerhardt”

May 23, 2016
Kurt Hatlauf Gelsenkirchen Ückendorf Paul Gerhardt with 1903 Cadillac Runabout. This drawing ©2017 by Torsten Slama and the Pro America Society

Paul Gerhardt Church Gelsenkirchen-Ückendorf with 1903 Cadillac Model A Runabout (A3; 42×29,7cm)

Behold here a fine example of evangelical church design in the vein of tasteful international modernism, a sight, not altogether typical, but not unusual either in a time when there was still a lively interest in all church things, yet the decline of church business was already clearly visible on the horizon of time as men know it (not geological time). Witness the gleam of the main building’s big glass front – a huge abstract dyptich of biblical proportions – which is clearly an early Euro-continental reference to the big coloured front face tradition of modern American churches. This church, built many decades ago, at some not exactly verifiable point in the 1960s, still stands, yet is robbed of its dominant feature; the space around it. Today, it is sadly hidden behind parked cars and fences, and swallowed up by attached public service facilities: an old people’s home, a kindergarten.

Note how the nave is separated from the church tower in this design. A separation of things usually compacted into one edifice might be due to conscious conceptual considerations, or simply a sign of the times. What this separation signifies is the American-Fordian thought and practice pattern of division of labour – the tower; the reaching out facility, both reaching out for the congregation, reaching out for god (also a structure akin to a giant billboard/beacon with built in audio component) – the congregation and worship hall a place of production, production of faith, the plant proper.

A note of significance in consideration of this aspect of division: the church was designed not by a star of modern church building, but a lesser architect by the name of Kurt Hatlauf, who also designed several commercial buildings in and around Gelsenkirchen, and for some time served as the manager of the local football club of national fame, a post which surely earned him substantial recognition and probably was deemed the more salient factor of his career. So obviously a figure whose feet were planted squarely, but separately, one in the world of commerce, the other in a world of spiritual values (achievement/ fame, worship/faith). According to oral history, Kurt Hatlauf liked driving around in big American cars, which helps in reconstructing the motivational background for this attempt at an American style church (unable yet to hide its European origins), the Americanism further underlined here by the inclusion of a giant size Kachina doll sculpture.This rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the IPA Society

Advertisements

Cologne St. John Baptist with 1901 Oldsmobile Runabout

October 11, 2015
St. John Baptist Church (Cologne) by Karl Band, with 1901 Oldsmobile Runabout

Karl Band, Cologne St. John Baptist, with 1901 Oldsmobile Runabout (A3; 42×29,7cm)

This is a beautiful example of the art of repair and rebuilding, as practised widely in the middle of the former century, in this undisclosed place, which met with generous structural destruction in the second half of the Second Great War, and thus had a chance to develop a unique style of modernity in rebuilding, a style which flourished for only a little more than one decade, only to be replaced by a still unique, but aesthetically rather unsatisfactory industrialized construction process, using holistically questionable materials like Ytong, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), calcium silicate units, and mineral insulation board.

In this short blessed phase before the chemical industrial complex got on its feet again and took over the construction market, brick was the preferred building material; often recycled from the rubble which was lying around in great quantities to be collected and reused or heaped wholesale into artificial hills. Concrete, if it was used, remained mostly unadorned and unhidden, its surface showing the marks of the cast in which it was poured, a practice which developed, outside of its niche as a method of artistic repair for churches and damaged art museums, into a fashion, an alternative International Style utilizing less glass and steel, more brick and concrete, mostly employed in the construction of publically funded municipal buildings, police stations, universities, or social housing projects. This style, though, did not really take hold here, in this undisclosed place, but abroad, were minds were more open, less  numbed.

This church, first recorded in the year 1090, suffered extensive damage during the war, and then became what was locally praised a jewel of modern reconstruction, a reconstruction which was realized by the architect/builder Karl Band, who could be considered the North Rhine Westphalian version of the Bavarian Hans Döllgast.

This church now serves as a combined worship and convention center for the CRUX youth movement, which aims to spiritually cleanse and refresh the world though collective missionary itineracy.

This rendering of that church is embellished with an imaginary natural scenery in the background, a slightly enlarged vintage motorcar, and the stylized depiction of a floating device housing a solar propulsion motor. Atmospheric rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the International Pro Brick Society

Atmospheric Church of Fuzzy Wisdom (Cologne Dellbruck, 1941, View from North)

September 28, 2015
Church Drawing by Torsten Slama

Karl Band, Köln Dellbrück St. Norbert, Ansicht von Nord 1940, mit 1910 Benz Limousine (A3; 42×29,7cm)

Atmospheric rendering of the Curch of Fuzzy Wisdom, situated in a forgotten spot in a forgotten part of a half-forgotten City. Fuzziness is demonstrated by the singular double tower design feature, entrance, and thus partaking of Fuzzy Wisdom, is facilitated by a special entrance unit which leads through the gap between the two towers, into the actual congregation hall. Vehicles of all sorts as well as less ceremonial visitors can also find ingress through a comfortably sized side door which leads through the left (the rational) tower of Fuzzy Wisdom. This practical entrance is facing the north, thus no disturbing, directional sunlight will disturb the minds of the visitors or the architectural unity and dignity of the building. A rather beautiful, off-white, vintage Benz limousine is parked in front ot the north facade, forming a well calculated aesthetic unity with the less mechanical minded edifice.

Floating in the sky over roof of the congregation hall; a spiritual inseminator in the act of spiritualizing an inflatable effigy of an early space-craft design (for a deeper insight in the symbolism of this floating sculpture, see Tellurialism).

This church is officialy (in order to appease traditional catholic church authorities) dedicated to a rather nondescript Saint, Norbert Gennep, who was born on the left bank of the Rhine, in the town of Xanten, part of the Electorate of Cologne (Kurfürstentum Köln), which was an an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire and existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. Saint Norbert was a rather quintessential possessor of Fuzzy Wisdom, whos life principles where as well marked by a distinct careerism and opportunism, and a well pronounced “spiritualism”, which allowed him for instance, to give away all his worldly possessions, without ever falling into the spriitually endangering situation of poverty (non-possession). Note also the following supposedly monist (one-towered, anti-fuzzy) concluding act in Norbet’s life: in the schism following the election of Pope Innocent II in 1130, Norbert supported Innocent and resisted Antipope Anacletus II. In Norbert’s last years, he was chancellor and adviser to Lothair II, the Holy Roman Emperor, persuading him to lead an army in 1133 to Rome to restore Innocent to the papacy. The all-knowing Fuzzy Authority has the unfailing power though to render all and especially those acts of seeming determination and single-direction into the paralle-opposite, thus establishing perfect equanimity and neutrality (see Kohelet 2:11 “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Atmospheric rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the Society of Fuzziness and Equanimity

Anti-Nationalist Church Feetze, Altmarkkreis Salzwedel

September 23, 2015
Anti-Nationalistic Village Church Feetze, Altmark Salzwedel District with 1923 BMW R32 Motorbike

Anti-Nationalistic Village Church Feetze, Altmark Salzwedel District, with 1923 BMW R32 Motorbike (A3: 29,7x42cm)

This village church situated in an agnostic district of Germany is run by a renegade protestant woman priest who announces her progressive leanings by parking her vintage motorbike in front of said church. Said priest also commissioned a local plastics manufacturer with the manufacturing of an extremely lightweight acrylic air sculpture, fastened so to the church steeple as to appear weightlessly floating. The four tubular devices, dyed with a modified e-ink and radium amalgam, can be triggered electronically to interact on a high frecency level and assume any colour in the standard CMYK realm. Thus, all types of national and organizational flags and heraldic symbols can theoretically be rendered. The air sculpture transforms the static nature of individual national and political colour designations into something infinitely flexible and transmogrificational. On a symbolical level, the church thus signals itself to be out of bounds, truly international, anti-segregational. Only on this politically, culturally, and geographically nullified level, it can function as a place from which world-healing words, deeds, and thoughts emanate. The church buiding itself is severely threatened in its structural integrity by dry rot, mould infestation, and plaster falling from the ceiling into the mouths of the singing or open mouthed sleeping congregation. The free floating energy it constantly produces is exposed to dangerous channeling efforts through various world-heritage conservational programs and covert financial support by the EKD (German Evangelical Church), trying to reintegrate it into the standard top-down approach to organization which traditionally renders all human interaction into potentially violent and pressurizing attempts at domination. The aforementioned woman priest has announced a public self-immolation in front of the church at some unspecified point in the near future to protest against all forms of government, church, and political interference.
© 2017 Torsten Slama and International Publications Organisation World Wide

Invitation to an Exhibition

September 21, 2015
Souvenir card, A4, on the basis of the drawing

You are Beautiful, too – an Exhibition for Children, Humans, and Finite Automatons, (A5, 2015)

This invitation card is in fact a souvenir card. Due to recent admonishments by paperless office activists, art mongers are now discouraged from sending out printed invitation cards. Instead, electronic invitiations are send out, and only those who venture out and actually visit the space presenting the physical artworks are allowed to take one card per person with them, so that they can deposit it on their coffeetable, fasten it with a magnet on the refrigerator door, or maybe even pin it to a pinboard, if they have one. The card then serves as a potentially permanent reminder of the event and where, when, and why it was obtained. It is designed to survive hundreds or thousands of years, if preserved properly in a sealed, clear, archival plastic sleeve which must be purchased separately. The idea is, of course, to ensure the artist and his work a very effective, totally voluntary kind of publicity, a kind of private publicity, so to speak. Incidentally, this card is based on the drawing “Karl Band, Holy Trinity Church, Cologne Poll, with 1906 Compound Touring car”, and was supposed to feature a hallmark of cautiously modern church design by the prolific church architect Karl Friedrich Heinrich Band (1900-1995), in conjunction with a Vintage car of a slightly earlier date. In fact, the historical truth is complex and was not sufficiently explored nor documented by the artist. The church, as it is now standing looks totally unlike the depicted church, which very much resembles the original church from 1928, which burned out in the year 1943. It was built from 1950-1953 after plans by Karl Band, who, according to the spirit of that time, tried to use as many remaining parts of the original as possible. The semi-original tower by Karl Band had to be torn down in the year 1968 (a very symbolic date), and was replaced with a yet more modern one by Hans Schilling. The church, as it stands to this day, is an example of typical brick based mid-century church design which has little or no similarities to the depicted one.


You are Beautiful, too

a poem for an exhibition
on the theme of a flock of sparrows joined by one escaped canary
and the author feeding birds
Six times seven-teen
Have you seen?
Rhymes make happy times

The sparrows look at me and beg
While I stand solemnly
on just one leg

With tiny beaks they eat and tweet
And stand on tiny sparrow’s feet

“You are not dressed in colours gay
But you prefer plain brown and grey!”

“You dance and frolic so around
I see the birds, but not the ground”

Then the crumbs are eaten all
And I stand lean, and stiff, and tall

The sparrows have eaten and flown away
And left me feathers, brown and grey

(Oh you creatures of the sky!
Will ever we see from eye to eye?)

Only a yellow canary
Is left behind, and looks at me
I wonder, when the sparrows look at you
What do they think? You’re beautiful, too?

Card design and original drawing © 2017 by Torsten Slama and the Tellurian Society