Work

Linköping Cathedral

Linköpings Domkyrka, Sweden

20052010

In 2005, Brian designed two related suites of stained glass windows for Linköping Cathedral, Sweden, a 13th century Gothic building: an unrealised scheme of six windows for the Thomas Beckett Chapel, and this executed pair of windows for the transept – a three-light window on the north side of the transept, and another on the south, each above one of the cathedral's porch entrances. Fired into the glass of one of the south window's lights is a silkscreened photograph of a first Communion, and fired into all three are photographs from Brian's studies of oak leaves; an image of a dove, from his photographic studies of doves in flight, is fired into the glass of the north window's lights.

The window on the north side (the window of the Spirit) has its diamond quarries penetrated by a dove flying against the sky and clouds. In the southern window (the Son’s window) nature, in the form of decorative oak leaves, breaks through the rhombic pattern and creates a dramatic change. But above all it is the strong colours that carry the artwork. It is a colouristic effect that reverts to the medieval stained glass windows that created a splendour of colour in cathedrals like Linköping in the Middle Ages, whose windows were destroyed by fires during the 16th century. The new stained glass windows give a clue as to what was lost, while being a unique Swedish artistic work for our own time.” – Gunnar Lindkvist, former head of Östergötland Museum.

"At Linköping, when the light comes through those cast iron diamonds found in the fenestration throughout the cathedral, it throws a really appealing pattern onto the stonework, a bit like the pattern you get when you can see light reflecting off a calm lake with just a little bit of top breeze on it – a flat, even ripple everywhere, a flicker like you used to get in old films. And it's very nice, that, the warmth and sort of democratic calm flicker of this light coming through. And I didn't want to disturb that, so it was also very straightforward for me to deal with: if I could keep the same pattern of flicker in my work it would be even more coherent with the rest of the building. If you believe as I do that the Gothic cathedral is one of the most significant Western cultural achievements, you can't just gesture to that idea, you've got to respond. In contextual terms, if you bow to the prevailing architecture it is possible to maintain the integrity of your work and respect for the building. You can have genuflection without sycophancy: without deferring to the surroundings through historical pastiche you can kneel to them.” – Brian, 2020.