The Tabernacle of the Heart Laid Bare

The "Tabernacle" was without question my deepest and most spiritual work to date, when it was completed in early 2003. It is a "palindromatic" creation, thus there are a multiplicity of ways to observe and appreciate the work. First and foremost is its unique physical form, comprising the actual outer underlayer of bark, and which is delineated in light-colored varnish. Contrasted with this is the inner underlayer of bark, from which the wood has been cut away from the inside, which is varnished in a darker, russet color.

This second inner perspective also functions simultaneously as an "outer" perspective when the third element of the work, the actual "Tabernacle", comes into play. One of the most salient and obvious figures on the outer layer is a faithful heart-shaped root protrusion, and originally, "The Heart Laid Bare" was the original intended title, as this heart-shaped object had revealed itself to me as a central element of the piece. As I progressed into the inner reaches of the wood, there was a point at which I felt the chisel going through solid wood and entering a space full of dusty, soft material, totally unsuitable for the sculpture - yet it was still surrounded on all sides by solid wood! As I gingerly progressed into the space, I realised that it was the place where the seed of the tree had germinated. Once there was a "structure" taking form inside the emptied space, the intricacies of the stairs and platforms convinced me that "The Tabernacle of the Heart Laid Bare" was the most fitting and final term.

The staircases and platforms of the Tabernacle are a metaphor for the challenges we face and the goals we set for ourselves in life. Most ordinary mortals go through life on the main front staircase, starting down at the bottom with the small, steep steps and gradually working upwards. Some few among us, of the calibre of Jesus, Mozart, or Buddha, are so blessed or gifted as to find themselves climbing the broader side staircase to the right, one which leads more easily to the "light" of the upper platforms.

However, dangers and challenges abound for both journeys. The "wrong" path, the "fall" is always present on each and every side. On our way upwards, should we have chosen the right path, we constantly encounter dangerous precipices. A step to the edge either left or right will allow us to observe the fates of those who have chosen the wrong paths in life, below us, however a step too far, and we will join them. Gradually, however, we proceed upwards in experience, knowledge, wisdom and respect, in whatever way we have called our own in our hearts, though…- danger persists until the last.

The last work to be done inside the Tabernacle was the gradual recessing of the back wall as far as could be "supported". This created a vast open space, an acoustic paradise. The upper reaches of the sculpture can now be seen to reveal the unicorn, the winged stag/bok, the crocodile and other natural figures, protecting the celebrations within from harm, much like the gargoyles of Notre Dame.

For myself, I can imagine "Faust" Part 2 performed here, with its "Tiefen und Hoehen", finding a safe seat and listening to one of Jesus' sermons, or even searching for Buddha, seated in the recess at the top - everyone may find their own images or references. They may be the deepest, and most intense ones each of us has in our hearts, and therefore, whether only to ourselves or also to others, we will have laid our hearts bare.