Arise ye, and depart Chanté Mommsen


Arise ye, and depart


Chanté Mommsen

Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest:
because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction

– Micah 2:10

There are over sixty verses in the Christian bible dedicated to fire and destruction. While most of them are about proving the presence of God through fire, the emphasis on destruction feels like a very toxic notion to me. It is out of place with a God supposedly committed to the principles of love and kindness. How does a loving God show mercy by punishing his own people and destroying those who disagree?

The exhibition is not an act of desecration, but a meditation on the inherent ambivalences contained in the bible – between redemption and destruction, salvation and damnation, forgiveness and punishment. Central to the installation is a pair of angel wings made from bible pages, which have been folded into feathers, using origami techniques, and dipped in wax. The wax-coated feathers suggest the way in which we are weighted down by the very ideas that are meant to set us free. But they also call to mind the myth of Icarus – who flew too close to the sun, using wings made of feathers and wax, causing the wax in his wings to melt and him to fall to his destruction.

As such, the exhibition is ultimately about choice, and whether one has the freedom to choose or not. The things you are supposedly meant to do sometimes compete with what your brain, heart, and soul are telling you to do. The messages don’t always line up, so you have to make the choice – to stay, or to depart – and you have to live with the consequences of your choices.