site specific installation,
Kunst im Kreuzgang Bielefeld, Germany
photo: Christian Ring, Tim Fulda
The inner world of the outer world of the inner world
The artist Jaro Varga is working with nothing more than a wooden bench in his artistic intervention CIRCULAR RECTANGLE / ZIRKULARES RECHTECK shown at St Jodokus Church. This new bench is in its form identical to the existing church pews. The consequences of this his simple statement are reaching far beyond aspects of art and history; they do not only touch upon theology, psychology and sensitive experience, but reach down to the roots of human existence
Vargas room installation is based on profound scientific findings. The view enters into a space of experience, opens to the secret “here and now”. and invites the enlightened to contemplate the metaphysical – beyond what is perceptible by our senses.
We have a primary relationship with the element of power known as “church”. Varga is moulding the room of St Jodokus like a sculptor would handle clay.. The wooden bench stretches across the complete church interior and creates a kind of imaginary, crooked whirl in the nave.
This is visual impression we experience, when entering the cloister of St. Jodokus to find the several meters long pew, dividing the complete inside and outside of the church and the cloister, in an almost stoic manner, keeping the visitor all the time uncertain : Is the impression real or only a consequence of an irregularity in the visitor’s eye – or even deriving from our inner self?
A space without structure, evenly filling the whole field of vision, which does not allow for any orientation and is completely homogeneous is called a „ ganzfeld”. The visual perception is the main subject of Varga’s art and his artistic intervention and thus makes vision visible
The French phenomenologist Maurice Merlau-Ponty describes the visual sense as „ a means to be absent from yourself“, to assist in “the inner fraction of being, which will truly let me find self- consciousness”1.
Since the times of Wassily Kandinsky, artists have tried to explain in which way the spiritual, intellectual - or to use the Cartesian approach – the mental substance can be considered as an independent quality of experience or awareness in our worldly, modern ages. But when entering the CIRCULAR RECTANGLE / ZIRKULARES RECHTECK, an enormous space is opening up, which seems to be much bigger than the outer shell of the building. The artist borrows a poetic phrase from Rainer Maria „Durch alle Wesen reicht der eine Raum: Weltinnenraum“2, in talking about a stream of light, a long sentence said in one single breath, an endless inside room, without disruption or deviation.
Such paradox outside/inside experiences can occasionally also be made when entering cathedral buildings, like Chartres in France or St Mark’s basilica in Venice , where the glow of golden interiors seems to expand the room to an eternal space.
In St. Jodokus in Bielefeld, finding the way from the outside to the inside of the building, from the church square through the cloister and a sequence of rooms and hallways could be understood as a walk into your inner self.
The visitor is immersing into the extension of spaces created by Vargas These spaces create as mystic- unavoidable presence , asking enlighted people to reflect upon basic things in life. This challenge concealed in the artist’s work, is a hidden truth – but also profoundly human as it touches upon the striving of mankind to become wholly human.
1. Maurice Merleai-Ponty, Das Auge und der Geist. Philosophische Essays, erw. und bearb. Aufl., Hamburg 2003, S.311.
2. Rainer Maria Rilke, Es winkt den Frühling fast aus allen Dingen...(1914), 4.Strophe: „Durch alle Wesen reicht der eine Raum:/Weltinnenraum. Die Vögel fliegen still/durch uns hindurch. O, der ich wachsen will,/ich sehe aus, und in mir wächst der Baum.“
text by Nils Emmerichs