Gn 3, 1–24
The entry two-winged safety door was made to order for an apartment unit in the house in Kralovske Vinohrady in Prague. The owners of the unit approached me with the idea of creating a relief on the interior part of the door.
Since the owners had no clear-cut idea about the project, I had a free hand to come up with the concept of the relief both in the matter of form and content. I made plenty of sketches of different subject-matters; eventually, we agreed upon figural concept and specified more detailed approach to the project in terms of ideas and artistic design. That gave rise to the new interpretation of the biblical story about Adam and Eve which seems to be as current as ever before.
The entry door to the apartment is situated across from the staircase in the center of the frontal wall. The entrance hall has a round ground- plan. The relief door is reflected in the mirror on the opposite wall. Whoever opens the door, thanks to his own reflection in the mirror, becomes part of the story- touches the apple (the key) and takes over the role of Adam’s, who himself is not visible while the door is open.
Description of the relief
The whole unit first. The center of the two-winged door is formed by a middle crossbar dividing the relief into the right and left part and, at the same time, holding both wings together. In this particular case, it does not work simply as a divider or a stopper, actually it serves its own significant purpose, it has its own story line. From above, logically, God’s eye watches all the activities via the strict vertical line. The ray of God’s eye goes through the whole scene- through the Tree of knowledge, the wall of Eden and the serpent –the instigator of the action. By entering and leaving the door, we disconnect and connect the serpent thus becoming co-creators of the scene.
Both Adam and Eve share the serpent and the Tree of knowledge. The patulous and fruitful tree creates a canopy above their heads. Seven kinds of birds live in its crown- three on the left, Adam’s side, four on the right, Eve’s side. One of the birds watches the nest with two eggs- the symbol of continuity of life. Apples on the tree serve as the screws as well, fixing the upper part of the relief to the floor plate. Eden is surrounded by a wall, going horizontally across the whole scene forming a cross with the vertical. A small gate in the central Eden wall opens simultaneously with the door. In the outline of the gate –entrance to the garden- is Adam’s left hand holding an apple. The apple represents a key, both in the real and figurative sense. The handle (both a handle on the gate leading to the Garden of Eden and that on the entry door) is touched by all of us entering through, we are all protagonists of the story. Under the handle and the apple with Adam’s hand there is a head of the serpent. On the opposite side there is Eve’s hand as well. Gestures both of the woman and the man are fairly significant and show the fundamental conflict in life. Whereas Adam’s right hand is refusing, the left one is already holding the apple. Eve presents herself as a typical woman, too. Whereas her right hand is comforting but seducing as well, her left one protects herself and her own world. The working peephole is a part of Adam’s left eye.
The setting, where the protagonists of the scene find themselves, and the selection of animals and objects, refers to archetypal characters. The man constantly in quest of something, a suitcase ready, with a cat symbolizing tenderness and home. There is a watchdog standing beside Eve, providing protection, a dish and a mouse. Behind Eve’s figure there is a blank page available for anybody to write down a message. In between the couple the serpent crawls out of the ground, a symbol disrupting God’s work from the very beginning. The meaning of the serpent is accentuated by its image split into two parts on both sides of the door- it is torn apart while the door is being open and put back together while the door is being closed.
Symbolically, God’s eye was adjusted at the very end of installation process of the door relief, the climax referring to the beginning and end of time.
Dimensions of the door : 2460 x 1327 mm
Material used : forged sheet iron (aprox. 2-6 mm)
I used classical blacksmith’s procedures while working on the door relief. Individual segments (Tree of knowledge, leaves of the tree, birds, apples, Adam, Eve etc.) are assembled, welded, ground smooth, forged together and joined with the floor plate; apples and some of the parts are screwed together.
The left-Adam’s wing- weighs just under 40 kg, the right-Eve’s wing- is a bit lighter.
The color of the relief imitates old “moss-like bronze”, my favorite hue, because it blends in naturally with the surroundings, but at the same time reminds us of ravages of time. The fact that it does not ignore natural colors of nature is a bonus. For primary coat on the relief, Hostagrund, Blacksmith paint was applied. The same make of the paint (mixture of black and green) was used for topcoat, lazure verdigris.
I commenced working on the door relief in the fall of 2014. In early December 2015 I put final touch on the project and on 3.12. 2015 this work of art was symbolically completed by adjusting God’s eye.
26.11 – 4.12.2015, Olesno