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Installation as a metaphor of Christ‘s Last Supper

On the occasion of the Charlemagne Prize 2023, the installation by artist Lilli Muller can be seen for ten days in the cloister of Aachen Cathedral

In the courtyard of a historic church in Venice, the Los Angeles-based artist Lilli Muller created an immersive installation as a metaphor of Christ‘s Last Supper. Photo: Lilli Muller

Last year the “The Global Supper” art installation attracted a great deal of attention during the Venice Biennale. In the courtyard of a historic church, the Los Angeles-based artist Lilli Muller created an immersive installation as a metaphor of Christ‘s Last Supper. Using symbolically set massive tables, she brought to light the vast economic inequality in the world in a simple but emphathetic way to spark dialogue and evoke change.

To this end, Muller, of German descent, set up long dining tables draped in purple velvet around the entire cloister courtyard. All the countries of the world were represented in the form of unique hand-made place settings. On top of customized placemats for each country were set 199 precisely filled glasses representing the level of their respective gross domestic product, with place cards hinting at further economic data of each country. Every tiny detail of the installation was researched and meticulously presented. Hand-sewn facemasks made of denim sat on each plate like food were a reminder of the worldwide pandemic, simultaneously serving as a metaphor for hunger in the world, not being able to eat nor speak, signifying lack of freedom of speech and identity.

A link to the big global issues

Dieter Reheld, CEO of regio iT GmbH, and Lilli Muller met in Venice. In Aachen, they are now making “common cause”, here at a preparatory meeting in the cloister of the cathedral. Photo: Robert Poorten

At the invitation of the European Foundation Aachen Cathedral (ESAD), “The Global Supper” iscoming to the city of Charlemagne. From May 8 – May 18, it will be on display in the cloister of the Aachen Cathedral in the presence of the artist, who is looking forward to greeting every visitor. With the “Global Supper”, Lilli Muller calls on all nations to sit together at one table, to find workable solutions for a world in crisis, working together to end war, hunger, environmental disasters, and to sustain humanity.

Dr Jürgen Linden, Chairman of the Foundation Board ESAD, finds a lot of potential in thisapproach. “The common meal at the large, all-inclusive table is a symbol of unity, understanding, trust, and friendly family-like cooperation between the people and countries, of a harmonious relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. This is the common goal that the International Charlemagne Prize and the European Foundation Aachen Cathedral pursue with their work.”

Aachen-based companies are supporting the installation

The installation, which is to be understood as a timeless symbol for peace, is part of this year’s supporting programme of the Charlemagne Prize ceremony. It will be flanked by other activities, including a concert hosted by the Rotary Club Aachen-Charlemagne and an evening of discussion, organized by Misereor, the Catholic organization for development cooperation. “The Global Supper in the cloister and Aachen Cathedral connecting twofold: On the one hand, Holy Mass is celebrated daily in the cathedral as a continuation of the Last Supper. On the other hand, the installation makes it clear that the cathedral and the activities taking place in it serves to nurture our responsibility to the major global issues of poverty, war, and injustice,” explains Provost Rolf-Peter Cremer.

The art installation is made possible thanks to the commitment of Aachen-based companies. On the initiative of Dieter Rehfeld, CEO of regio iT GmbH, Sparkasse Aachen, Carpus+Partner AG, DSA GmbH, NetAachen GmbH, dhk Hagelskamp & Kollegen, Neck + Hein Werbeagentur, the Catholic work for development cooperation, Misereor and the Rotary Club Aachen-Charlemagne are supporting the installation and the extensive accompanying programs.

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