Vertical Libraries sculpture exhibition

Posted: 15 July 2013

60 people attended the event 'Art and ideology under communism and beyond' at the Round Church in Cambridge on July 10th.

Vertical LibrariesOrganised by Jubilee Centre and Christian Heritage, the event featured Romanian Christian artist Liviu Mocan and his wife Rodica, an academic at the Babes Bolyai University in Cluj.

The evening began with a documentary film about their lives and testimony, and particularly Liviu's approach to faith and art. It explored the pressures they faced as Christians in a hostile culture, the impact of the revolution which overthrew the communist regime, and included very personal glimpses into their marriage and family life.

The film provided an excellent introduction to the artist, and was followed by a Q&A on a wide range of topics from freedom of religion to the theology of Francis Schaeffer via the place of the Decalogue in society. The evening ended with a lively discussion around the exhibition of sculptures by Liviu Mocan which are on display in the Round Church until the end of August 2013. The following text is taken from the exhibition brochure:

'Vertical Libraries'

The normal pattern in a library is to display the books horizontally on shelves. In turning the arrangement through 90 degrees, Mocan seeks to explore the content or 'verticality' of learning, and its influence on personal growth and development.

At the base of a vertical library sculpture the emphasis is on each particular book, but as the column rises, the individual titles and authors begin to dissolve and what emerges is their transforming influence on the individual. To adapt the phrase of Albert Einstein, 'Culture is what remains in you when you have forgotten everything you have read.'

This exhibition provides an opportunity for reflection on one's own trajectory of learning and engagement with literature.

The message of these sculptures is particularly apposite to anyone involved in education - students, teachers, academics, librarians - in the city of Cambridge, where the world comes to learn.

The Artist

Liviu Mocan was born in 1955 and studied at the Fine Arts faculty of the University of Cluj, Romania. His public sculptures have been erected in Germany, the US, Egypt, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand, as well as in his native Romania. His largest public work is 'Invitation/Decalogue' commissioned in 2009 for the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth in Geneva.

In his home city of Cluj, the artist was appointed to create a sculpture commemorating the martyrs of the 1989 uprising which overthrew communism; 'Shot Pillars' stands on a busy pedestrian area in the city's main square. He was commissioned to make 'Greenseed' for the Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, and another monumental sculpture entitled 'Illseed' was unveiled outside a public hospital in Auckland by the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark in 2007.

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