Christian Gonzenbach

The Nave

The Nave (La Nef), 2009

Fir wood

730 x 640 x 1420 cm

A site-specific work erected in the nave of Bellelay Abbey, which is now a psychiatric clinic, in the Bernese Jura, Switzerland, the structure mimics the front portion of the ship – or la nef  – thus becoming a play on words, as well as space and function. The hand-made structure in wood calls to mind scaffolding and works as a metaphor for something vulnerable, raw and temporal as it oscillates between something finished and unfinished against the environment it situates itself in. Construction within construction, the piece opens up many different possible interpretations such as, a giant face of an animal, Noah’s Ark, a future voyage, a new discovery, etc. And through the large-scale and complex volume it responds to the surrounding architecture and the context.