Cathédrale de Chihuahua
octobre – novembre 2008
« It is a story about birthdays…and for wishing a birthday, someone or something has to be born… When I first came to Chihuahua, I had not a minute and most of the time I stayed I spent it in museums, library, having interviews and visits of the city, touring all monuments and sites able to receive my light artwork and learning about them.
The cathédral was there, waiting for me…What a great monument, symbol of the magnifiscence of the city, beautiful example of early 18th century baroque architecture, right in the center of the city… I love and respect very much cathedrals and churches, I have been working on so many of them all over the world, they carry the very special memory of our human dimension toward the holy gigantic universe. Chihuahua has a very interesting duality, desert on one side, mountain and forest on the other and as most of the civilisations people here gathered along water points…A story about Nature…
After having reviewed all my notes, red my books and looked at my pictures, I wrote a story about Chihuahua, on the main subject of anniversary, as next year will see the 300 years of the foundation of the city and the year after the celebration of Independance and Revolution.
I started with what I felt as the most important element of this country : nature.
And with the birth of a land coming from the first created element : water
So the first idea was to bring water to feed the rivers and dig the mountains to built the landscape of Chihuahua, canyons and valleys, natural cathedrals of crafted stones by the power of nature…
I bought the storm and the rain to built the caves with drawnings of the first inhabitants of this land, the pre-historical tribes that would becames the indians of the area, drums and pictures of the riders on the storm…The cave opens on the piece of rock, an idea of Nombre de Dios where I have never been… And this rock to become the first natural cathedral of this land, announcing the birth of the city at the very precise place…and the water of the sky to fill the two rivers where the men of 1709 decided to make this city be born. Chuiscar and Sacramento are represented as an allegory of water surronding the piece of rock covered of paleolithic drawings and then indians patterns. They join as two sisters on the two towers of the becoming cathedral.
And as soon as the rivers have met comes Antonio, the foundator, with his spanish origins celebrated by the beautiful flamenco baroque guitar.. Behind him, the rocks natural columns of stone become sculpted with architecture to become the new symbole of the city : the cathédral.
Here star the story of the city of Chihuahua, born between two rivers to serve the quest of men looking for gold and silver. When the rock has become civilised by the hand of man, then the cultures have to meet, the local people and the invaders… With the help of the jesuits, the people learned from each other and this is what I show in the next part of the piece, with a composed 17th century music for the jesuits by Juan de Araujo. It shows the mixing of traditional designs and colors with the shape of architecture, you can hear the traditional voices composing together with the spanish instuments (tambourins, castagnettes, guitars). And all the arts to get together to show the power and the beauty of the city. The cathedrale gets colored and decorated more and more as the city is growing.
The music, archaic and profane at the beginning with drums then piano and flute (composed specially for this work by Frederic Ozanne, french composer with whom I have been working for about ten years) now is strong and religious, Ignacio de Jerusalem give his Te Deum and his overtures to sacralise the monument that becomes totally gilded.. This is the apogee of the spanish city.. but from the idea of « Light » ( le siècle des lumière) coming from western Europe and from France sounds the voice of revolt and Independance. The gold slowly burns and melts, gets warmer and crushed, damaging the perfect look of the golden cathédral…Red colors come into the composition, prefacing the arrival of dramatic and strong évent..As a medal printed in the softed métal, the face of Miguel Hidalgo appears on the façade, immediately surrounded by a golden grid that puts him prisonner and makes him disapear…The Idependance ideas are born, the grid of the prison of hidago gives birth to thousands of flowers that blossom at the three colors of the new born country…The children, symbols of hope and of future sing together a wonderful Mananitas…On the very end, observer can observer scan see the « aguilla de la bandera » appearing among the flowers… This ends my first vision of the history of your city. I call it Chihuahua Saga.