Schwellentransfer | Transfer of Thresholds
JOSEF FINK Juden-Christen-Altar / Altar of Christians and Jews, 1982, Eisenbahnschwelle, Stoff / Railway sleeper, cloth
Zweihundert Namen Gottes / 200 Names of God, Mitte 1980er-Jahre / Mid-1980s Acryl auf Leinwand / Acrylic paint on canvas
Transfer of Thresholds
The passion of the artist, poet, and priest Josef Fink (1941–1999) for God did not spare Christianity. He examined the Judaic roots of Christianity with all the insistence of his artistic, theological, and journalistic nature. He organised several painting retreats in Israel and the Sinai peninsula: The “Altar for Christians and Jews”, which was created in 1982 and has been exhibited on the stairway of the “Kulturstock Zwo”in the Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten since then, is an evidence for this. At a later time, it was installed in the chapel of the Aloisianum, Herrgottwiesgasse (established in 1989), a place to go for people suffering from alcohol abuse. At an even later time, it was reinstalled—like the entire chapel years after its closing down—in the newly built Caritas headquarters in the Grabenstraße in 2013. Fink built a T cross of old railway sleepers, from which two felt banners are hanging, which, lettered with the first ten consonants of the Hebrew alphabet, address the relationship between Old Covenant and New Covenant. Thus Christ, like already a long time ago in the medieval typology, is introduced as “new Moses”, who even elevated the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament in the commandments of the Sermon on the Mount. Fink also built the altar table of railway sleepers; he draped it with separating vestment which was supposed to remind of the schism between Judaism and Christianity but also to the divisiveness within Christianity itself. Fink filled the entrance wall to the right of the altar with panels on which he lists names of God from the three monotheist religions—and thus also crossed the threshold to the Islam and its diverse names of God: “Lord of Hosts” is written there for example, as well as “The one who thunders from distant times”. A boat with ten lights on board hangs from the wall with these Two Hundred Names of God, which symbolically refer to the human soul inside which the Ten Commandments burn.