As we progress through our 25th Anniversary year, we will be looking back at some of the most groundbreaking, poignant and technically challenging installations of our history.
10 years on Sir Anthony Caro’s installation, Chapel of Light, at the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Bourbourg remains just as poignant and dramatic. Situated in the previously concealed choir of the church, Caro’s series of stunning sculptures were conceived as a memorial in honour of the friendship and support experienced between Britain and France during WW2.
Firstly, struck by an artillery shell and secondly, hit by the flaming tail of a crashing German bomber, the bell tower collapsed in an inferno which decimated the entire church. In the years following the siege the building was lovingly restored with the exception of the choir which remained behind a brick wall until 1999. The subsequent restoration of the space and commission of Caro to create a piece to document its history continued until 2008, when it reopened as The Chapel of Light.
Composed of 9 steel sculptures with terracotta figurative elements, The Creation, sits in the arched niches behind the font, each representing a different element of the world’s conception. In addition four additional pieces, Harmony and Melody, and Paradise Garden and Alleluia contribute to the religious narrative of the space, whilst fulfilling Caro’s original intention of keeping the installation spiritual yet not focusing on the Roman Catholic nature of the space, instead creating something more interdenominational.
With elements of the project coming from locations both local to Bourbourg and more further afield in France, as well as from Caro’s studio and artisan fabricators in the UK, the coordination of the project’s shipment and installation was, at times logistically challenging. However, the installation is one that Mtec were honoured to execute and one that we could not exclude when reminiscing about our 25 year history as leaders in art logistics.