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Sacred contemporary contemporary sacred

arte sacra contemporanea Raul Gabriel cantiere Santa Maria di Colle Perugia 2010
Construction site Santa Maria di Colle presbytery tests volumes Raul Gabriel ©
Contemporary art and sacred

Contemporary and sacred art are two expressions of the same vision. In my artistic experience, reflecting and intervening on sacred places is the natural and contiguous continuation of making art. An authentic art is always sacred and there is no sacred art that can be called out of the contemporary. There is no dichotomy or contrast between two areas that are actually one.

Dialogic relationship

Dialogue with meaning is none other than the challenge to rethink one's own formal structures in a frame that defines its boundaries only in terms of focus. It does not limit its expression in any way, it contextualizes it in an area where meaning is the fundamental key to realizations. In these pages I briefly reconstruct some elements chosen from my interventions in churches with the most diverse contexts. Identity, uniqueness and harmony are the foundations of all my thoughts and projects concerning the dialectic between the sacred and the contemporary.


The dialectic that concerns the contemporary sacred insists within a single event: the symbol. The first project that involved me was that of Santa Maria di Colle, where I developed the first points that guided me and continue to guide me in the following and future interventions. The first "manifesto" I wrote, cut out on that specific intervention, was published in the Review of Theology of September 2011, and in the university magazine Studi Umbri.  Raul Gabriel 2009-2010, Interventi sulla Chiesa di Santa Maria di Colle di Perugia: la sfida della modernità .

Raul Gabriel

Architecture and sacred

 (...) The architecture of the sacred is not in itself necessary for survival. Being satisfied with a modular aesthetic development - by subtraction, addition, multiplication, fractal and so on - does not in any way satisfy the idea of ​​aesthetic unity and harmony of a sacred place. Instead, the vital mechanism of the form must be identified, which is much more intimate than the expression of the form itself. The process, still the process. Not the forms. Not the stylistic figures. All this is particularly necessary in cases that provide for a liturgical adaptation, an operation that is often carried out also in new projects, where more often than not it is necessary to think of the liturgical poles - which should be the first source of the project - once the envelope is complete.


We find ourselves having architectures, more or less stimulating, with presbyters whose presence is laughable. Here it is necessary to intercept the tuning of the architectural framework, to ensure that the liturgical places, necessarily thought afterwards, reveal themselves as the essential motif, the engine, around which the architecture was conceived. In this, a service component is required. In the artist's autonomy and freedom of creation (autonomy and freedom that have responsibility as their correlation) it must be clear that a church does not lend itself to extemporaneousness as an end in itself.

adapted from

The spirit of the place Sacred space as a process

di Raul Gabriel

Il critico Flaminio Gualdoni su: Si Fece Carne , Basilica Medicea di San Lorenzo Mark Wallinger, Yves Klein, Raul Gabriel , Adrian Paci e altri

What defines the sacred place? Not the perimeter, but the fulcrum. Not the definition of an area, but the occurrence of the symbol in a precise point which then, with both centrifugal and centripetal force, determines the perimeter, the area, the place-home. The event that determines the need for the place is the encounter. Nothing else. Otherwise, the conceptual fascination of the idolatrous pleasure of space ends up denying the essence of that place, justified only by the flesh.
I don't mean the house as a function. I mean the house as an anthropological expansion of existence, a concrete element that interfaces the act of inhabiting places.

 adapted from

The spirit of the place In Christian architecture, the sacred is always relationship

di Raul Gabriel

Raul Gabriel's projects and creations in the contemporary sacred

“Whatever is, is somewhere else”

Raul Gabriel
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Milan, Italy

Pesaro, Italy

London, UK

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