Standing 3.5 metres tall, Lazarus towers in front of the entrance to Bispebjerg Hospital. Here, the sculpture welcomes patients, visitors and staff with open arms and an imposing bronze body mounted on a 2-metre-tall granite plinth.
‘Rather than taking a traditional approach, presenting the resurrected Lazarus as a somewhat naive, simplistic representation of hope, Christian Lemmerz has imbued his sculpture with a more challenging, ambiguous character that makes one want to return to it over and over. There is something very beautiful and pure in the respect the sculpture shows for the ambivalence we all recognize when visiting a hospital,’ says Morten Kyndrup, member of the board for the New Carlsberg Foundation and professor (chair) of Aesthetics and Culture at Aarhus University.
Lemmerz’s interpretation of the biblical character Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by Jesus, is both classical and modern. He drew inspiration from Thorvaldsen’s Christ figure in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, but in Lemmerz’s interpretation the biblical figure resembles one of Andreas Vesaluis’s detailed anatomical models. With artistic finesse Christian Lemmerz has created a monumental sculpture that reconciles divine and human, simple and detailed, in a single figure.
Enthusiastic reception from Bispebjerg Hospital
‘I am very happy about the generous gift from the New Carlsberg Foundation. The sculpture is an addition to Bispebjerg Hospital’s architecture and beautiful green surroundings. With this work, Christian Lemmerz has added his name to a long and interesting tradition for using art to the benefit of everyone who comes to the hospital,” says Anne Jastrup, director of Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals.
Together with other existing and future works of art the sculpture is a realization of the hospital’s strategy of turning the area into something more than a hospital; an inviting space that offers a range of experiences and welcomes the outside world.
About Christian Lemmerz
The internationally acclaimed artist Christian Lemmerz (b. 1959 in Karlsruhe, Germany) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1986 and from the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara, Italy, in 1982.
His art often revolves around the mortality of the body, disease and death, and he combines unique sculptural art with a range of contemporary, pressing and at times provocative issues in large sculptures.
Christian Lemmerz was awarded the Thorvaldsen Medal in 2009 and the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist’s Grant in 2015.