“Des Herrn Wort bleibt in Ewigkeit”.This text, 1 Peter 1:25, was on the frieze of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Elisabethkirche in Berlin from 1834, when it was built, through its destruction in World War II, until well into the 1990s, when it sat as a ruin.
But although the church exterior has been beautifully restored since, the epigraph signifying eternity hasn’t returned. Berlin artist Riku Ikegaya created a temporary installation based on this story of destruction and reconstruction of architecture: a model of Schinkel’s church, made out of scaffolding pipes for the frame and construction timber for the benches, inside the actual church – hence the project’s name: Nested churches. He fronted the church’s model with Saint Peter’s words, in neon.
During opening hours, the words are partially visible from outside, creating a compelling desire to enter. Meanwhile, the artist would like us to consider our expectations of eternity, in a digital age where change seems to be the only constant.
On the altar, which is not part of St. Elisabeth’s standard equipment (it is no longer used for religious services), there is a dish containing communion wafers inviting you to explore the background of Ikegaya’s work. If you’re lucky, you can catch the artist wandering around the church!
What: Nested Churches by Riku Ikegaya
Where: Elisabethkirche, Invalidenstr. 3, 10115 Berlin. U/S: Rosenthaler Platz, Nordbahnhof, trams 8 and 12.
When: Daily, 20 April until 1 May, 12-7 pm.
More at: bit.ly/-ewigkeit