Lenten veil, St. Michael's Church, Michaelerplatz 5, 1010 Vienna  
February 14 - March 28, 2024 

Traces of Fire

Sooß 1
Detail Sooß 3
Sooß 2
Sooß 5


Ernst Hilger (Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna) asked me last summer if I would like to create a Lenten cloth for St Michael's Church /  Michaelerkirche Vienna. I was taken with the idea, even though the required format of around 6 x 12 metres would be five times larger than my largest works.

A new format usually requires a new approach and so I decided to completely abandon the materials I was familiar with, in search of a medium that would allow me to express my feelings. Influenced by grim predictions for the future, the economic strategies of large corporations, climate change, the ongoing global destruction of nature and the horrific armed conflicts of our time, I finally chose water and fire as a transformative medium instead of pencils and paint - earth, ash, smoke and coal as a colouring medium. The traces of fire, apocalyptic and beautiful at the same time.


Fragment, Fastentuch

The Lenten cloth consists of around 20 burnt, smoked cotton cloths rubbed with ash, earth and charcoal and exposed to the rain. The individual fragments were sewn together by hand, the cloths deliberately gathered and creased - creating a work of art with an almost sculptural character.


Detail Naht
Detail Falten
Detail Falten 3
Detail Falten 4
Detail Falten 4
Detail Falten 5


If you think about the abundance that surrounds us and the promises of happiness with which the industry seduces us into consumption, the location of St Michael's Church, at the beginning of Kohlmarkt, is the ideal place for a Lenten cloth - a work that for me, although somewhat dystopian, nevertheless depicts the present.

"We would rather die out than do without abundance", I recently read in an interview with Peter Sloterdijk and I almost fear that the philosopher might be right with this assessment. If you take fasting literally, then it's about doing without. Perhaps the key to happiness lies in the simplicity of things and their reduction.

Jakob Kirchmayr, January 2024