Iron gall ink on parchment. Oak case. Coin activated light.
This work was commissioned by Z33 for a larger project of unification of the two cities Hasselt and Henk in Belgium. As a contributing artist, I was ask to create a work at a pilgrimage site in the Minderbroederkerk in the small city of Hasselt, the capital of Limburg. The work I ultimately produced is about interpretations of history, the creation of communal memories, and the place of narratives of cultural heritage in the life of a community. Inventing a fictitious legend, I linked the current patron saint of the region, Valentin Paquay, with Saint Servatius, one of the earliest Christian figures in the area, by creating a document in a form of a fourth-century letter. I did not claim that the document was from a particular time, neither did I attribute the late antique Latin text to any single historical figure, nor did I present the letter as a work of art. Instead I traversed the very narrow boundary between each of these concepts. I created the document as a painting limited by the parameters of a fourth-century late Roman letter. To the extent possible and in collaboration with various experts, I included all the elements that would likely be present if such a document had survived. The resulting document is now permanently installed in the Minderbroederskerk as a part of the church’s collection of important objects.