Madeleine Dietz: Cross
A Cross of Steel and Dust
by Patrik Scherrer
The cross is lying on the ground, not standing up vertically. The materials of which the cross is made are unusual as well: a steel frame filled with earth. Even so it conveys a Christian message to me. The cross is not empty to me, not robbed of its meaning by its surprising materials or an absent body of Christ.
The steel frame tells me that the cross proclaims an enduring and unchanging message. It is, however, not the form of the cross that is most important here, but its content. Yet the frame of the cross keeps this content together and makes sure that we do not forget that Jesus died for us as a reconciliation for our sins.
On the one hand the earth reminds me of our human transitoriness and how this is expressed on Ash Wednesday in the sign of the cross of ashes on the forehead of the believer and the words of Genesis 3:19: ‘You are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ That’s why to me the earth symbolizes the body of Christ, also in the sense that all believers together form the resurrected body of Christ. Does the earth not consist of countless particles of dust?
On the other hand I see in it the potential fertility of the earth. Now it still looks dead and lifeless, but a little water is enough to waken hidden seeds to life and make them bud from mud. In this cross the resurrection is present in the receptivity of the earth. In the same way a small external impulse or nudge by the Holy Spirit can awaken hidden seeds in us and make us alive and fruitful.
Madeleine Dietz: Cross, 2003, steel and dry earth, 45 x 45 cm, © Madeleine Dietz.
Madeleine Dietz (b. 1953) is a German artist. She studied at the Werkkunstschule Mannheim. She makes installations and video installations. She has completed various large projects for churches and cemeteries. See www.madeleinedietz.de.
Patrik Scherrer is the driving force behind the German website Bildimpuls. Every fortnight he sends out a ‘Bildimpuls’ or visual meditation, in which he focuses on contemporary Christian and religious art from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He studied theology and works with the mentally handicapped. He wrote the book Gott in Sicht? 33 Impulse zum christlichen Glauben aus der Pinakothek der Moderne, Schnell & Steiner, 2005. On the Bildimpuls website there is also a lot of information about artists, books, museums, exhibitions and organizations. See www.bildimpuls.de.
More:- November 2022: Christmas - Brian Kershisnik: Nativity
- October 2022: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- June 2022: Michaelmas, September 29
- January 2022: The Speck and the Log
- November 2021: Advent - Care for the Earth
- September 2021: Year B, Proper 25
- May 2021: Year B, Proper 18 (Revised Common Lectionary)
- April 2021: Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: Seven Last Words of Christ
- February 2021: Year B, Lent 6: The Ointment of Nard by Arcabas
- January 2021: Year B, Epiphany 8
- December 2020: Advent: Butterfly
- August 2020: Year A, 21st Sunday after Pentecost: Psalm 1
- June 2020: A Year, 10th Sunday of the Summer
- May 2020: Pentecost: Donna Shasteen
- April 2020: The Scene in the Kitchen; Christ at Emmaus
- March 2020: The Seven Last Words of Christ
- January 2020: Year A, Epiphany 3
- November 2019: Edward Hicks: The Peaceable Kingdom
- October 2019: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- August 2019: Ordinary Time
- March 2019: Aaron Douglas & James Johnson: Listen Lord
- January 2019: The Speck and the Log
- December 2018: Botticelli: Madonna and Child, with Saints
- November 2018: Gor Chahal and Jan Krist
- August 2018: Year A, Autumn Sunday 8, Parable of the Talents
- May 2018: Ernst Barlach: The Believer
- March 2018: Easter: Grid Buster
- March 2018: Good Friday: I am Thirsty
- February 2018: Lent: The Rich Man and Lazarus
- January 2018: Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year B
- November 2017: Advent - Johannes Vermeer: Woman with Balance
- September 2017: A year, 6th Sunday of the Autumn
- August 2017: A Year, 10th Sunday of the Summer
- May 2017: Pentecost: Images for the Holy Spirit
- April 2017: Fra Angelico: Christ in Limbo
- February 2017: Roger Wagner: Lazarus (Psalm 49)
- January 2017: Gislebertus: The Dream of the Three Kings
- November 2016: Advent: Butterfly
- November 2016: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- September 2016: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- January 2016: 25 January - Caravaggio: The Conversion of Saul
- December 2015: Meditating on the Life of Christ
- November 2015: Gor Chahal and Jan Krist
- October 2015: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- August 2015: Ordinary Time
- June 2015: Van Gogh: The Sower
- February 2015: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
- December 2010: Advent - Until He Comes!