Monday, May 25, 2009

Gothic skeletons

One of the main reasons why gothic ruins seems in many cases the best ones, the most morbid ones, is their resemblance with a gigantic skeleton. It’s immanent in their architecture that the fragile structure, the flying buttresses and the ribbed vaults remind of a dead body.

That was already realized in older days and many said that the Gothic church symbolized the skeleton of Christ, while the Romanesque church was the flesh body of Christ. Though the idea was clear (and morbid enough) there was no way to play with it. Sure that Romantic painters used that association to show a kind of "Memento mori" when they painted gothic ruins. But it was only a kind of reminiscence.

So the idea was on the table but nobody could make use of it, because that mighty ribs could only be a symbol of the body of Christ. Probably the first who exploited it was the Swiss artist H.R. Giger who became famous for his design for the film Alien (1980 he got an Oscar for that).

Like in many of his artworks he mixed in Alien biological and mechanical elements with an architecture which is abandoned a long time a ago and reminds of bones and has a strong subliminal gothic influence. The best example is the bar in the H.R. Giger Museum in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland.

More photos on the website

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