Contemporary artwork created for the 950th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey of Orval in 2020. Christian Jaccard uses the technique of wall-burning on the entire 18th-century vault that is located under the crossing of the transept of the church.

The work is inspired by arches spotted in the old Romanesque architecture and those observed in the semi-arch of the stained glass windows of the church. "Burn shadows" or soot spots spread out in a random order are a polymorphic expression to the right of the walls of the vaulted base and to three of the four cardinal passages located below the crossing of the transept.

The simultaneous play of curves and spots forms a pictorial composition traced by the fleeting incandescence of the thermal gel. They reveal their contrasts of light and shadow. They shed light on our intuitions as to the configuration and the accomplishment of a work expressed in Cistercian Partiture and characterized by the succession, progression and amplitude of the burn shadows.

They invite us to meditate on this alternation in black and white loaded with metaphors and symbols, to see this recurring otherness of day and night. They reveal to us the absence of this grandiose flight of flames in the face of our gravity and in the face of the redemptive silence which hovers within the vault studded with vanished specters. 

On the whiteness of the limed plaster, the picture with numerous carbon migrations spreads out in a parietal manner. It is the pictorial experience of thermal convection in action on the walls transcended by the extinction of multiple braisings. It is a metaphysical equation of the possible and the uncertain.

From this encounter and this process is born the combustion work in situ, inspired by the density of the architecture and the enigmatic force of the place.

Christian Jaccard 
July 2020