"(...) In fact, the wooden churches of Romania represent our ancient temples"
prof. univ. Dr. Adriana Babeți
The temples of the great cultures outlived due to their intention of conquering time, whereas our wooden temples survived because they were used, lived in and repaired by each generation. Things have changed nowadays! What will become of our temple? The answer lies before us, the temple turned into a mirror of ourselves: places of indifference (Crivina), places of dishonest earnings (Margina, Poieni), places of ignorance (Povergina), places of megalomania and infatuation (all the other places where wooden churches are replaced by a “cathedral”).
Far from attempting a nostalgic tone, the contemporary man’s rush towards the new is mainly accomplished by annulling the past, thus turning himself into a ”nobody”.
Bearing all this in mind, we will continue by using a register that fits with each person's own belief, just as we did. Whether it's perceived as a temple for some, or of a monument for others, this dwelling is a bearer of history where the passing of time got embedded in and on the wood that makes it - its scale, proportion, light, atmosphere, symbol, scent, the way it was crafted a.s.o. –
In the mean time, this body of wood became a fountain of knowledge for those who wish to understand it and still have the patience to analyze and search for what was passed on by more or less skilled craftsmen who left their marks on this aged wood that miraculously still stands together after such a long time.
However, the condition of these places of worship ( temples or monuments), witnesses of their own history, is more than critical. Rather than experiencing a cumulative evolution, our sequential evolution turns them into victims – many of them becoming ruins. Negating their very essence to a great extent (mentality, skill in technique development/developing solutions, construction intuition, handicraft, artistic and architectural expression a.s.o.), many are mutilated by renewal interventions which reduce them to formalism, rusticity and material.
Our installation, embodied as a visual alert, aims to bring awareness and provoke constructive debates regarding the condition of our wooden churches and the way they are being cared for, exploited and restored, because to many are left in decay, or end up in such a situation due to unprofessional interventions.
Wood does not simply grow into a church, a dwelling, a house or a barnyard, but it becomes so through a lot of effort that is being put into those things that did and still matter to us/ used to matter and still do to us.
We either forget or we choose to ignore them, or we fail to remember the times when a village drew its spiritual and creative energy from these sacred places, where a mother found her comfort, or a father prayed for his soldier son. Is what we leave behind, worth more than what we’ve inherited from our ancestors?
Having the ability to coagulate into diversified teams of professionals, we can search, find and share ways of bringing life back (in)to these monuments. Maybe the way we could stop churches turning into piles of rotten wood would be by learning to value our elder's ingenuity along with their abilities and flaws and by nurturing these types of cumulative initiatives.
”Oh, you mean that? …well what’s left of it is nothing more than a pile of rotten, good for nothing wood. It'd better make a new one!” – the contemporary craftsman
“Those who cherish a lot, do have a lot, whereas those who cherish less, have less” (arh. Al. Baboș) ... this is our wooden mirror.