A major new memorial installation of two original sculptures by internationally acclaimed artist, Gerry Judah (b.1951), will be erected as part of St Paul’s Cathedral’s programme to commemorate the 2014 centenary of the beginning of the Great War (1914 – 1918).
The two white cruciform sculptures, each over six metres high, will be installed on the walls at the head of the Nave of the Cathedral, meeting visitors upon entry to St Paul’s for an eight month period from Palm Sunday onwards (13th April 2014). By participating in the St Paul’s Cathedral Visual Arts Programme, Gerry Judah joins a prestigious selection of some of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Bill Viola, Antony Gormley, Rebecca Horn and Yoko Ono.
The extensive permanent collection at St Paul’s also features work by artists such as Henry Moore, Sir James Thornhill and Grinling Gibbons. Bearing intricate models of contemporary and historical settlements decimated by conflict on the main shafts, the two crosses encourage reflection on the waste, pity and devastation of war, whilst also instilling a sense of hopefulness and a desire for peace in the viewer.
West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral, credit Graham Lacdao
Reflecting on the project, Gerry Judah remarks: “It is a great honour to have been selected to create these two new works as part of the World War I commemorations at St Paul’s Cathedral, a building that has historically come to symbolise the triumph of hope and redemption in the face of conflict. These sculptures are intended to appeal to our feelings of pity and charity, as well as filling us with hope for the future, which, I feel, is one of the principal purposes of a great place of worship, contemplation and meditation such as St Paul’s.”
The Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, comments: “Gerry Judah’s striking sculptures confront us with the reality of a War that saw thousands and thousands of young people from around the world buried with white crosses and stones over their remains. They also provoke us into interrogating the present world and the landscapes we casually view on the news every day, as scarred and agonised by military hate as the hearts and minds of those who survive. Gerry’s work ruptures the symmetry of the Cathedral just as war breaks down human harmony. Placed where they are, we are invited to walk through them, and the failure and pain they represent, into a sacred space of hope where people in all our diversity are invited to come together to worship, to respect and to learn from each other. It is a work that starkly asks of us what it must now mean for us to be loyal to our shared future.”
Born in 1951 in Calcutta, India, Gerry Judah moved to London with his family at the age of ten years old. A graduate of Goldsmiths College and Slade School of Fine Art, Judah has worked on settings for some of the UK’s leading theatres, museums and public spaces, including the Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Museum, English National Opera and Royal Ballet. In 2000, the Imperial War Museum commissioned Judah to create a large-scale model of the selection ramp in Auschwitz- Birkenau for the Holocaust Exhibition, opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The project signalled a shift in the thematics of Judah’s work towards art borne of his reflections on political, historical and environmental issues, culminating in collaborations with organisations including Christian Aid and the British High Commission, India.
Gerry Judah’s work has been exhibited at Whitechapel Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and has entered many international public and private collections including the Saatchi Collection London, and the Imperial War Museum.
Gerry Judah at St Paul’s Cathedral World War I Memorial Installation 13th April – 30th November 2014