Hand forcathedral

A MAJOR new work has been selected to continue Chichester Cathedral’s proud tradition as a bold patron of contemporary art within an ancient setting.

Wednesday, 12th January 2011, 10:20 am

The hand of the resurrected Christ raised in the sign of blessing looks set to be suspended in the central aerial space within the Cathedral.

Chichester Cathedral Chapter has announced that a piece by artist Jaume Plensa has been chosen for the prestigious Hussey Memorial Commission

Subject to final approval and funding being secured, Plensa’s design will offer a ‘cloud’ of letters in the shape of a hand, a concept which will maintain transparency and enable the viewer to see directly through the sculpture.

The most celebrated of the five artists originally shortlisted was Angel Of The North sculptor Antony Gormley.

But as Chichester Cathedral Chancellor Canon Dr Anthony Cane explained, it was a question of selecting the submission which most faithfully offered what the Chapter sought to achieve.

The brief for the commission asked for a contemporary interpretation of the resurrected Christ and called for the work to ‘inspire a sense of contemplation and engage the imaginations of all who visit the Cathedral, an artwork that expresses new life, transformation and hope’.

None of the five original submissions met the brief fully. Three of the five artists were invited to refine their design; Plensa emerged as the clear winner.

The design - still subject to further refinement - will be on display in the Cathedral from Tuesday, November 30 throughout the Christmas period.

The Dean of Chichester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling, said he hoped the finished piece might be in place within 18 months.

“I have given an undertaking that this will in no way infringe on the Cathedral funds or restoration funds. We are now looking for a donor or donors. There will be no public appeal. We will take account of the funds that have come in and we will work further with the artist.

“Then the process is that it will go to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England who have the final say. We have consulted with them at every stage.”