Public Art Project: New sanctuary, choir windows and stations of the cross for a Parish Church, Traun
Procedure: Invited art contest, 1. price
Realisation: 2015

The redesign of Saint Dionysius in Traun, Upper Austria, is devoted to the concept of a dynamic gathering of the community. Expanded for today’s liturgical demands, the new altar area with its clear and kinetic design vocabulary stands out from the historicising original architecture. While the neo-gothic church interior refers back to individual mystical immersion, a new and spectral look to the outwards is introduced here to focus on our collective presence in the world, aiming at an atmosphere of fulfilled presence for the community’s celebration.

The main design theme involves the assemblage of discernably separate elements to form a greater whole. Dynamic horizontal and vertical layering creates a play of translucency and perspective, reading classic church materials like wood, glass or gold against the grain. For the new altar and pulpit, different types of solid oak wood were bundled vertically to form a light swarm with only a few points of contact to both the floor and their floating white tops.

The new choir windows introduce the motive of a rapidly revolving world into the church interior. For this, a satellite image of the entire earth was translated into broken and stacked up glass strips across all five windows of the sanctuary. With the broken edges of different types of glass exposed, the motive undergoes a strong motion blur and responds with different refraction hues to the changing incident light or to individual motion.

The 19th century stations of the cross were accessibly organised on the main nave’s walls to reinstate their original function as a walking meditation. Each painting’s differently leaning axes of the cross were optically continued beyond their frame in a pale gold mural. Depending on the viewer’s position, the tilting golden perspectives appear in varying density, colour and dynamics. This effect invites the viewer to ritually walk the image sequence and also brings to mind the wide variety of individual viewpoints.

Katarina Matiasek, 2015

photos © Stadtpfarre Traun/ Glasmalerei Stift Schlierbach/ Katarina Matiasek