What a wonderful follow up to our July 13th entry about the mosaics of Fr. Rupnik and the Centro Aletti Studio. Reader Greg Haas sent us this great first-hand account of being present for the installation of the mosaics in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. We’re grateful for Haas’ words and photographs. Enjoy – Nancie
I had the great joy of witnessing Fr. Marko Rupnik and the Centro Aletti team in action at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut last year. What a great team of artists assembled from Europe’s East and West. This is their second chapel in North America although they have done chapels and churches, basilicas and shrines the world over including one for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
Up close, these mosaic details are a study in fragmented abstract beauty, while in full, the mosaic mural in its entirety is an icon of Faith. This is new art, this is ancient art. This is a personalized style depicting universal forms. This is Eastern, this is Western.
I love the untraditional use of traditional materials…. fragmented slabs of smalti pizza set next to tightly jointed smalti cubes in fields of the same color, the use of polished marble tiles broken and set alternately with the polished and then machine cut sides up, the use of rough cut marble tesserae widely set showing 1cm or more grout, 24kt gold 4×4 plates cut to render ascending curves, deeply textured handmade ceramics gilded on site, primary colors amid gold white and black, so much more.
Overall a tour de force of texture, color, and tessellation in service to a great iconographical scheme that as you note serves worship in a perfect synthesis with the architecture of the church that looks like it was made for this mosaic….
Can you tell that I like this work?
Also, it was great to see their techniques, such as the fact that they fabricated in studio the faces/hands/feet and other critical details and shipped them to the CT. The rest was drawn onto the thin set and then done direct while standing, sitting, and yes, singing and laughing on the many layers of scaffold!
The team never signs their work, but includes little mosaic animals as their signature…. here’s the one at Sacred heart…. un piccolo scoiattolo rosso – a little red squirrel.
Also, I was very fortunate in receiving the remainders of their supplies that the team didn’t need to take back to Italy…. They are proving a valuable and meaningful addition to my studio and its works for other Churches here in Texas.
Thanks for introducing their work to your readers! Perhaps the next time I wont have to go all the way to the East coast to see a Centro Aletti installation!
Mosaicist & President
Studio D’Oro LLC
Thanks again, Greg. To see more of Centro Aletti’s beautiful work, please check out our post of July 13th. Or, visit their website.