Art intervention: Saint E. Jenner Cathedral

[Art intervention]

Saint E. Jenner Cathedral is the name of a dual exhibition and, at the same time, a daily recurring happening. It is directed by Ján Faltín, a student from the Studio of Free Creativity 3D at the local Faculty of Arts, and a visual communication student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Jana Sanetriková. The concept of this site-specific and, at the same time, the context-sensitive project lies in the close connection between fine arts and everyday life in unusual conditions.

The starting point of the whole installation is 6 projections of graphs, which display data representing the development of the pandemic in numerical values ​​of the average number of positive tests. At the same time, the form of displaying graphs which is reminiscent of colored stained glass, demonstrates the author’s concept, which is based on comparison and mystification. The test center and sampling are compared to the sacred space and the religious ceremony taking place in it. Ján and Jana created a temple in the hall of the gallery. The testing itself and the subsequent waiting for the result and the resulting quarantine or, conversely, the free movement of the individual reminded them of the penance ritual, which may or may not occur.

The name Saint E. Jenner from the name of the exhibition project is associated with Edward Jenner, an English physicist and scientist referred to as the father of immunology, who invented the first vaccine (1796). Jenner is here designated a saint, a kind of prophet or savior of the past, who predicted and for the first time demonstrated this most effective means of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Will vaccine become our Eucharist? In the Saint E. Jenner Cathedral project, interpretations of a spiritual nature are more than obvious.

In addition to the mentioned projected graphs – stained glass, the “scene” used for the performance of tests has also changed. The chairs, intended for the waiting, are turned to the “main stage” of the ceremony. The viewer is reminded of this by a video loop, showing the typically rotating movement of the stick when inserted into the nasopharynx. Disinfection at the entrance is reminiscent of a shrine with holy water. The sampling takes place in front of the massive altar, and the numbers are called up from the pulpit to pass on the test result. In the back of the gallery, there is a relic in the form of a fake vaccine, “HYPERMODERNA.”

Saint E. Jenner Cathedral is an interdisciplinary project in which people who have been tested and medical teams, and the entire gallery staff become part of the story and concept of the artwork.

The event takes place in the ALFA Gallery (Kasárne/Kulturpark) from 8.5.2021 until the end of testing, i.e., provisionally until 30 June 2021. The condition for participation in the exhibition is a negative antigen test.

Organized by K13 – Košice Cultural Centers, a partner of the Košice 2.0 project.

Author: Nikolas Bernáth