“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
—I Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
During our lifetime, we see only fragments of beauty and mercy; known only in part, we see only flickers of movement between man and his creator, only snatches of communication. Now on display in the gallery of the villa Via Sacra, the exhibit Fragments, brings together in collaboration the work of two artists, Filippo Rossi and Susan Kanaga. Both artists of faith, they express their vision in abstraction.
Entering the exhibit the viewer encounters the central work, a collaborative piece which places the work of both artists in interactive tension. From its inception, Frammenti, Fragments has been about seeing in part. While neither artist knew what the result of their collaboration would be, the result is evidence that the faith they hold in common is strengthened by their combination.
In the central work three dimensional forms, suggestive of a fragmented figure are suspended above a large cross positioned on the floor. The interplay between the two works, like distinct movements in a piece of music, together evoke the movement of a sacred dance.
The cross, the work of Filippo Rosssi, anchors the encounter and seems poised to receive the figure suspended above it. Known as a Greek cross, this traditional form is associated with ancient Christian baptisteries. Graduated bands of gold and red in the panels which compose the cross suggest steps both descending and ascending. The baptismal experience itself evokes both a descent into the tomb and the triumph of resurrection, where the faithful emerge changed by the action of immersion in the water and light of Christ. This resurrection process is a daily movement as the confession of sin and the desire for renewal are met by the mercy of God.
The mystical figure, the work of Susan Kanaga, activates the air space directly above the cross. Fragments appear to descend into the water and light, as evidenced by the radiant orange and red hues. Brilliant tones of heavenly blue pigment gilded with gold leaf signal the subsequent ascent. While fragments of wings underscore the spiritual/mystical otherness of the figure, the recognizable form of shoes among the fragments evoke the character of “Everyman.”
In a gesture of striking generosity the artists have refrained from titling their works allowing the viewer the freedom to bring their own understanding to the works. It is the artist’s hope that the works offered in “Frammenti” are in such relationship that a door may be opened into the personal experience of each viewer. These fragments of life, recalling shared experiences, are the same for Christians of all backgrounds. “Frammenti” underscores a desire for unity, a hope of communion and an ecumenical vision for the body of Christ.