Powerfully painted soul
Modern Passion painting in Maria am Gestade
Two years ago, a painting by the Salzburg artist Eva Kaiser was presented in our inner-city church in Vienna. Now we have once again exhibited a painting by Eva Kaiser in Maria am Gestade. It is entitled "imploring" and was presented on Palm Sunday.
The artist's large-format painting was shown in our church for the first time in time for the beginning of Holy Week. On Holy Days it will be part of the usual - mostly popularly designed - scene of the "Holy Sepulchre" in many Viennese churches. In this way, this scene is to be given an impulse from contemporary art.
In the upper part of the picture, right in the middle, the crucified Christ can be seen. His death seems not yet to have occurred, the "It is finished" not yet spoken. It is a depiction of Christ with calm, though naturally suffering, features. Together with the crucified, another figure can be seen growing out of him or at any rate connected with him. This second figure appears maltreated and tormented. The head hanging backwards indicates that the person depicted here is already dead. Who is this person? One can think of the following of so many martyrs on the cross throughout the centuries, and of the countless victims of injustice, exploitation, abuse, violence, hatred and terror.
The connection between Christ and that second figure upholds the hope that the innocent suffering of all maltreated and tormented people is suspended in the mystery of redemption. In Eva Kaiser's picture, Christ has his right ear to that heart that no longer beats. Only through this gesture of listening to someone who is dead, death is conquered and new life is initiated. The silence of a finished human being still acts here as an expressive word, which is perceived, accepted, taken along and taken home by the Son of God. Finally, the lower part of the picture shows the perpetrators of violence. Eva Kaiser succeeds impressively in juxtaposing their blunt rawness with suffering and love.
Father Martin Leitgöb