Chillida and Fr Mennekes, at Santa Cecilia of Montserrat
01 / 02 / 2018

The Museum of Montserrat and the Sean Scully Art Space in Santa Cecilia de Montserrat promote the organization of a lecture series by Fr. Friedhelm Mennekes, in collaboration with Joan Maragall Foundation and Vila Casas Foundation

The Museum of Montserrat, in collaboration with Joan Maragall Foundation and Vila Casas Foundation, has invited to Catalonia Fr. Friedhelm Mennekes, a personality internationally recognized for his work as a promoter of the arts. As a Jesuit and expert in art, he has defended the role of contemporary art within the Church and its usefulness as a means of self-knowledge, reflection and contact with the transcendent. This led him to relate with important artists -Beuys, Tàpies, Chillida, Byars, Rainer, Barbara Kruger, Kounellis ...- from all over the world, who carried out numerous artistic interventions promoted by Mennekes himself in the church of Sankt Peter of Cologne, where he was parish priest until 2008. These actions, usually ephemeral, defended the importance of abstract art and its spiritual dimension, open to both believers and non-believers. Currently Fr. Mennekes resides in Frankfurt and is a visiting professor at several universities such as Universität für Bildende Künste in Berlin, Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, University of Kingston and University of Bonn, since Mennekes is considered the maximum intellectual about links between contemporary art and religion.

Lectures will start on February 21st at 7:00 pm organized by Joan Maragall Foundation in the auditorium of the Faculty of Communication Blanquerna (Ramon Llull University, Barcelona) titled Vivify the ruins. Art installations in sacred spaces (all lectures in Spanish). The event will be attended by the art critic Daniel Giralt-Miracle.

On the 22nd at the same time the Volart Space of Vila Casas Foundation, Fr. Mennekes will talk about his experience as promoter of artistic events in the parish of Saint Peter in Cologne and his personal relationship with artists with whom he collaborated: Art and religion. Father Mennekes at Sankt Peter in Cologne.

Finally, on Friday, February 23rd at 4pm, last lecture will be at Sean Scully’s Art Space in Santa Cecilia of Montserrat, focusing on the relationship of Fr. Mennekes with the sculptor Eduardo Chillida, author of the altar of the parish of Sankt Peter: Eduardo Chillida. Gurutz aldare (2000) - The altar of the cross for Saint Peter of Cologne.

All activities are free but registration is required by contacting each of the organizing entities for capacity reasons.

Mennekes in Montserrat
Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) was a friend of the Jesuit Friedhelm Mennekes, parish priest of the church of Saint Peter of Cologne. In 2000 was remodeled the presbytery of that church, which had become a world reference for the opening of Catholic Church to contemporary art: Chillida collaborated carving an altar that aroused great suspicion to the defenders of canonical norms. It consisted of three different blocks of stone in the shape of a cross that wanted to fit together but creating empty spaces between them. As Chillida said, “They interpenetrate and allow us to also enter into this system of matter and emptiness, cross and spirit.” The altar was there for a while, but finally the archbishopric ruled that the piece could not do the altar functions, but was more museum-specific. After being exposed for a while in the Diocesan Museum of Cologne, it has finally returned to Sankt Peter and is installed in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Mennekes, in his conference in Santa Cecilia, will explain to us the profound meaning of this altar and the message it implies beyond the canonical episodes.