We live in a highly visual age, where the arts have become central to postmodern culture. They have a unique power to reach the soul and touch the heart.
Personal and social transformation are unlikely to take place through words alone – no matter how eloquent our language or convincing our arguments.
Cast in brass and bronze, these new sculptures ascend in height from 1.3m to an impressive 5.4m, and will spend the next six months on display opposite the famous King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, where they are expected to be seen by up to a million people. They are a striking sight in one of the city’s most prominent locations and they stand as a public invitation to explore biblical themes.
Created by renowned artist, Liviu Mocan, the exhibition is called Archetypes. Each sculpture was originally inspired by one of the five solas (statements) of the Protestant Reformation, but the exhibition has since been developed so that each artwork also interprets a wider cultural theme:
Revelation: With 49 identical open leaves and eye-like shapes in place of words, The Book that Reads You (sola scriptura) considers the power of influential books and pays tribute to the authority of the Bible.
Sacrifice: The Lamb of God (sola gratia), includes a great nail buried deep in the majestic body of a ram, and explores the willing sacrifice of something good in the present for something greater in the future.
Transcendence: Made of 49 layers of brass connected by 365 rods, The Ladder of the World (solus Christus) seeks to fuse material and spiritual reality together in the form of the Person who is the one ladder between heaven and earth.
Belief: The gravity-defying Anchor Cast up to Heaven (sola fides) reflects the counter-intuitive nature of putting one’s faith at times of crisis in the promises of an unseen God.
Destiny: Representing the order and harmony of the cosmos, from celestial spheres to sub-atomic particles, Trumpet in the Universe (soli Deo gloria) suggests that everything resounds with the Creator’s glory.
These sculptures affirm one of the positive contributions that Christians can make to society: commissioning aesthetic and meaningful works of public art.
They’ve brought together people across different churches and Christian organisations in Cambridge in collaboration to share their faith. And most significantly, we’ve already begun to see how they are creating a fruitful public space for people to enter and consider some of the key themes of the Bible that have shaped our culture.