Veve Kunigundis at documenta15

Below is documentation of a work I made with Roberto N. Peyre during documenta15 in Kassel on June 17th 2022.

Completed Veve. Photo by Guillermina De Ferrari

Veves are ritual diagrams drawn in powder during Haitian Vodou ceremonies that represent the ‘cosmic signatures’ of the loa (pantheon of Vodou spirits). Veve Kunigundis was designed to represent the patroness of the church in which Atis Rezistans and colleagues from the Ghetto Biennale were exhibiting during documenta.

documenta fifiteen: Atis Rezistans | Ghetto Biennale, Installationsansicht, St. Kunigundis, Kassel, 14. Juni 2022, Foto: Frank Sperling

St Kunigundis (Cunigunde of Luxembourg) was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire between 1014 and 1024 and canonised in 1200. The church in Bettenhausen was completed in 1927 to serve the growing Roman Catholic community in Kassel. It was closed for renovations in 2019 when serious structural damage was found in the vaulted ceiling.

Banner for the Catholic Mothers Association at St Kunigundis Church

The design of the veve includes elements from the mythology of St Kunigundis: the red-hot ploughshare she walked on to prove her innocence after having been accused of adultery, the serpent contained in her chaste heart and the imperial crown. The decision to dedicate the drawing to the saint came after a man came into the building during preparations for the opening loudly defaming the installed work as blasphemous, sacrilegious and satanic.

The veve was drawn using quartz sand poured from glass bottles during the opening event.

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When the drawing was completed we created a candle-lined walkway between the alter and the veve in preparation for the second part of the ceremony; Jann Pase’l Pase & Mache Nap Mache (Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk), the recreation of a work first made by Roberto in collaboration with Jean-Louis Huhta (aka Dungeon Acid) and Jean Claude Saintillus at the Ghetto Biennale in 2013.

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Photo courtesy Pedro Lasch

Beginning with myself and Roberto, artists from Atis Rezistans, the Ghetto Biennale and audience members paraded along the ‘catwalk’ breaking up the veve.

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Here is the official video made by the documenta team. As you can see, it turned into a party.

And this is what was left in the morning.

2 Replies to “Veve Kunigundis at documenta15”

  1. Looks wicked John. Well done! We just got a big place in Devon where we can receive people are stage spiritual/artistic happenings Hope you come visit. Dan Hernandez

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