With the season of Advent, we encounter afresh the mysteries of the unknowable made known to us in the Incarnation. We share here with you artist Sophie Hacker’s visual responses to Olivier Messiaen’s organ work: La Nativité du Seigneur, (The Lord’s Nativity). The 1935 organ piece is one of the most popular of Messiaen’s early organ works, offering musical meditations on the themes and characters of the Christmas story. Hacker’s abstract visual explorations employ color, form, geometry and texture and found objects (objets trouve) to arrive at her expression of these mysteries.
Sophie Hacker, The Virgin and Child, 2008.
“The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birth-giver . . .” —Madeleine L’Engel, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Sophie Hacker, The Shepherds, 2008.
“I believe that each work of art comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’ And the artist either says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ and willingly becomes the bearer of the work, or refuses; but the obedient response is not necessarily a conscious one, and not everyone has the humble, courageous obedience of Mary.”—Madeleine L’Engel
Sophie Hacker, The Magi, 2008.
Sophie Hacker graduated as a painter from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1989. She later re-trained as a sculptor and continues her studio work in a wide range of materials including stained glass. Current projects include church re-ordering and designs for altars, frontals and furniture, in partnership with other practitioners. She is Arts and Exhibitions Consultant to Winchester Cathedral.
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), French composer and organist. Messiaen, who often chose biblical texts for his themes and sought to express “spiritual truths” of his faith through his music said: “The subject Theological? [It is] the best, for it comprises all subjects, and the abundance of technical means allows the heart to expand freely.”