Temples

This solo exhibition was part of the annual Plett Art Festival in 2017

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Temples are defined as sacred spaces, ritual spaces, spaces for prayer and sacrifice. But temples are always defined by our perception of the sacred. So temples today can be office blocks, shopping malls, complexes of culture and commerce, as valued by many as any traditional religious site.

The artist Wilhelm Vincent has expanded the definition of the temple even further. He has ingeniously enfolded the nature of the temple as architecture into the nature of the temple as male body. Our body is our temple, literally. We are a sacred space, we are a ritual space. What we hold sacred is ourselves, what we ritualise is life.

Architecture and the male form is sacred, it is a ritual, it is a prayer, and it is inevitably and eventually sacrificed.

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Mass Grave

The Kroonstad Concentration Camp Cemetery was one of eleven camps in the Free State during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). General Kelly-Kenny suggested the establishment of a concentration camp in Kroonstad  on 7 September 1900, and on 24 November 1900 the camp came into being. By March 1901 the Kroonstad Camp population had grown to approximately 2 500. About 1 268 people in the Kroonstad Camp passed away between April 1901 and April 1902, some of my ancestors amongst them. The Kroonstad Concentration Camp was formally closed on 12 January 1903 and the last residents vacated by 4 February 1903

The rest of the Temple exhibition was inspired by the observation of a Roman ritual in remembrance and solidarity after the devastating Garden Route Fires

“A ritual consists of a sequence of actions and words (rites) that are performed or spoken as part of religious worship. The ancient Greeks and Romans performed many rituals in the observance of their religion. 

Some rituals, such as the recitation of prayers, were simple. Others, such as animal sacrifices, were very elaborate. Sacrifices, the most important of the ancient religious rituals, were offerings to the gods. Although offerings were usually animals, other typical sacrificial gifts included cooked food, plants, pottery, or even a stone or flower. (source)” 

I | PRAEFATIO

The preliminary stage of a formal Roman ritual begins with a praeco (herald) calling for people’s attention by announcing “Hoc age!” 

An initial sacrifice of incense, wine, and possible a cake of grain, might be offered at this time to call upon certain deities to act as witnesses to the initial rituals.

Praefatio by Wilhelm Vincent

II |POMPA

The pompa is a procession. It is a ritual all to itself. Pompae are arranged differently for military triumphs, funeral processions, for when games were being held in honor of the Gods, and for other kinds of occasions. That is, the arrangement of a pompa, how the various components of the procession were placed, characterized what type of ritual was being celebrated. In general, though, you may think of it as the procession in which offerings are carried or led to the altar.

Pompa by Wilhelm Vincent

III | SACRIFICATIO

The main portion of a Roman ceremony is the sacrificatio. It is in turn composed of various parts.  Here again the praesul will ritually wash his or her hands.  Witnessing celestial, earthly, and infernal Gods and Goddesses will be called by offering Them appropriate sacrifices. Then is made in invocatio to request the attendance of the God or Goddess for whom the main sacrifice shall be performed.

Sacrificatio by Wilhelm Vincent

IV | LITATIO

The completion of the main sacrifices concludes with an adoration, certain gestures, and an observance for signs that the sacrifices have been accepted. Thanks are then given to those Gods and Goddesses who have been invoked as witnesses to the rites. This is done in reverse order.

Litatio by Wilhelm Vincent

V| PERLITATIO

In cleaning the place after a sacrifice, there may be some offerings not fully burned as well as the ashes that remain. Anything that is dedicated to the Gods must be properly disposed of by either burning them up whole or by burying them. Thus the minister sacrificii will order his assistants to bury whatever remains in an appropriate place.

Factum est. Di deaeque omnes, superi inferique, vos semper ament et cupiant.

“Thus it is done. May all the Gods above and below always love you and wish you happiness in all that is good.”

Those present respond:

Di immortales faciant, tam pias quam felices.

“May the immortal Gods make it so, as fortunate as it is pious.”

Perlitatio – Performance by Wilhelm Vincent

View Perlitatio, the entire performance :

Remains (or After Perlitatio) by Wilhelm Vincent

Reviews :

Temples will crawl beneath your skin and remind you of the poetic form that is the human male. Maleness in flux is a fascinating thing, and in these turbulent times Wilhelm Vincent somehow captures both the fragility and the resilience of an elusive subject. – Clyde Berning

Gritty powerful work, praise for Temples – Maggie Ubsdell

The exhibition “Temples” by artist Wilhelm Vincent provided an intriguing insight into the interpretation of physical form – both biological and architectural – as a container for and a representation of meaning. The work exuded a confidence that belies the age of the artist. I look forward to experiencing the continuation of this fecund theme in his future work. – Martin Wolfaardt

An introspective study of the sacred space with which our bodies provide us; combined with a sombre homage to resilience following the recent disaster in the area. – Ryno Bredenkamp

A deeply pondered fragment of the fragility of the human experience. Light moves across dark, form becomes formless when we see the parts that make the whole.The infinite landscapes of our shadowed forms – Kayla Wolfheart

Jou uitstalling was uitstekend! – Lika Berning

Very nice work, well done. You are an inspiration – Vanessa Brewer

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