As told in wood (EN) (paperbook)
As Told in Wood explores the ten reliefs with motifs from the life of Jesus, which Edward Fuglø (1965) made for King Christian’s Church, Klaksvík, in 2012-13.
The reliefs are simultaneously simple and richly layered, traditional and modern, intertwining Bible stories with local narratives. They are popular art at its best. The text, illustrated with a wealth of beautiful photographs, analyses the reliefs’ motifs and their meaning.
The book also discusses how the reliefs were made and explores their place both in Fuglø’s oeuvre and in the symbolic world of Christian art, from which he drew his inspiration.
The book is available in faroese, danish and english.
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As Told in Wood (EN)
As Told in Woodis an exploration of a major work in recent Faroese art, “Jesus of Nazareth” by Edward Fuglø. The work, commissioned for the congregational hall of King Christian’s Church in the town of Klaksvík, consists of ten circular reliefs, made in wood, with motifs from the life of Jesus. The reliefs are simultaneously simple and richly layered, traditional and modern, intertwining stories from the Bible with local narratives.
Though the scenes from the life of Jesus are immediately accessible even to the children who visit the church, the reliefs are not mere pictorial duplicates of the Gospel stories. By embedding art historical, theological and local references in his work, Fuglø opens up an interpretive space, creating a wealth of semantic possibilities for the viewer. As such, the reliefs not only explore themes in the central Christian story but invite the viewer to engage this story. For example, how are you, the viewer, to read the depiction of Jesus calming the storm when you realise that the two pieces of driftwood embedded in that particular relief are from local boats lost at sea?
In As Told in Wood, Nils Ohrt, an art historian and the director of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, analyses the reliefs’ motifs and meaning, exploring the various layers on which they work. His discussion is richly illustrated with a wealth of photographs. Before turning to a discussion of each relief, Ohrt commences with a general presentation of the context in which the reliefs are embedded. This includes their relationship with both the church’s architecture and its other decoration. An account is also made of both the reliefs’ place in Fuglø’s oeuvre and to the important role art historical themes play in them. The introduction concludes with a discussion on the making of the reliefs and the materials used.
The body of the book explores the content of each relief. These expositions are inspired by how the reliefs’ rich semantic content is framed by their simple and gripping stories. Ohrt’s deft discussion of each relief’s narrative content, theological symbolism, art historical allusions and local references introduces the reader to the depth and breadth of the work. But it is not answer, a key to what the reliefs means. Rather, Ohrt offers the reader a rich and learned exploration of the space in which the viewer can explore and experience this major work in recent Faroese Art.
The book concludes with a brief exploration of two other related works by Edward Fuglø and the artist’s own reflections on the making of “Jesus of Nazareth.”