Contemporary Church Art
Christianity gave rise to a great culture: from Dante to Dostoevsky, roughly speaking. The focus, the source of this culture was the church culture itself: where the Church directly manifested itself – in the church, in liturgical music, in icon painting. This purely church culture was also, no doubt, great. However, with secularization, secular culture became increasingly distant from Christianity, the gap between the Church and culture became wider, reaching the point where for others the “Church” and “culture” even became antonyms (both for other atheists and other believers) . What does church culture look like now? – And is there any? – and if so, what are its features, relations with secular culture, problems, tasks, etc.?
"The problem of space and time in modern church architecture." Sergey Chapnin
S. Chapnin in the context of modern Russian Orthodox architecture looks at our problem very skeptically: the architecture of the “church revival” did not bring new forms in either the external or internal appearance of the church. Moreover, from the point of view of the development of architecture, the past quarter century can hardly be called a revival, that is, a creative understanding of the traditional forms of temple space. It is rather a restoration, more or less successful copying, numerous attempts to close oneself in the style and forms of previous eras.
And the point here is not only and not so much in the architecture itself. Church architecture is closely connected with the understanding of the liturgy – the whole temple is a genuine icon of the Kingdom of God. If this understanding is "preserved", there can be no development of temple architecture that organizes and shapes the liturgical space.
Nevertheless, in recent years a new attitude towards the liturgy has been formed. This is evidenced not only by the practice of parish life, but also by church documents. In particular, the decree of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church “On the participation of the faithful in the Eucharist” (2015).
What changes in liturgical life can become a source for new architectural forms? What trends in temple architecture deserve attention and why? What is a parish church in a modern metropolis from an architectural point of view?
This is explained by Sergey Chapnin, editor-in-chief of the almanac of contemporary Christian culture “Gifts”, co-chair of the Artos community.
And what about Catholics in the post-Soviet space?
“The Church of Christ is standing. 50 years of the construction of Catholic churches in the (post) Soviet space. ” Natalya Borovskaya
Catholic temple construction in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods is a very young topic both in the history of the Church and in art history. Not everyone knows that in the atheist Soviet state churches were still being built, and their architectural appearance deserves serious scientific attention. As for the temples that were already built in Russia since the 1990s, then, despite a different artistic level, it makes sense to think about actively emerging stylistic trends and trends that are characteristic of Russian Catholic architecture. We will talk about how in Russia in the second half of the twentieth – the beginning of the twenty-first century. The main artistic problems of the temple construction of the last three centuries are solved. Should the appearance of the temple be stylized in the spirit of Gothic or Baroque traditional for Catholic architecture, or should it be based on modern architectural ideas? Should the Catholic church be integrated into the urban landscape or, on the contrary, stand out in it, openly demonstrating the Catholic spiritual tradition with its appearance? Finally, what about the situation with the restoration of temples that had undergone alterations to secular institutions in the previous period? Strive for historical reconstruction or create an alternative building in a different style that meets the spirit and style of modern Catholic liturgy? These and other issues will be considered in the general Christian context of the development of modern religious architecture, in comparison with the solutions found in the Orthodox and Protestant spaces.
These two lectures are devoted to modern post-Soviet temple architecture. But about modern sacred architecture in general:
“How to read modern sacred architecture? The word in the rejected stone. " Olga Shchedrina
“Why build like that ?!” "It was impossible to build a normal church?" The unusual appearance and decoration of some modern Christian shrines causes many interpretations, disputes and divisions. Unacceptable and scolded, they at the same time lead a considerable number of people to delight. While some architects, art historians and people of the art community are accepting the new church and even rewarding it with the title of “architectural icon”, sharp-tongued critics, journalists, representatives of various parish and city communities give the building completely different “nicknames”: “bunker”, “monument madness ”and so on … Why is this happening? What is the new language of sacred architecture? Olga Shchedrina, student and cultural expert, will tell about expressive means, techniques and technologies that create a modern sacred space.
"Modern author's icon." Irina Yazykova
Today the icon-painting tradition is rapidly reviving after the tragic rupture of traditions. And it is understandable that the great past becomes a guide for icon painters. However, does this mean that we are doomed only to repeat what our predecessors created and not to dare to express our own artistic expression?
The icon is not only the heritage of the past, it continues to be a living language in which the Church carries the Good News to the world. Among the many modern icon painters, there are a number of masters who are looking for new means of expression for eternal truths, new opportunities within the canon. It is with this circle of icon painters that the concept of “author’s icon” is associated, which reflects the leading trend in icon painting of the last decade.
"Modern liturgical music: how we were at a dead end." Vladimir Martynov
As usual, the outstanding composer and philosopher Vladimir Martynov, speaking of music, speaks of history and the current situation as a whole. He is extremely skeptical: the old sacred space is destroyed, modernity is characterized by total deification, where no church singing can be imagined. We should read the Apocalypse rather than create a new church culture.
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