Of Innocence is a 2010 artwork by Barry Krames. It is part of his Morality Theatre Project which is a 17 year long endeavor encompassing 26 assemblage sculptures like this one. This dense diorama contains a small tree filled with wooden birds in front of a cabinet reminiscent of a chapel. Inside this cabinet a child sits in an old fashioned stroller on top of other children. Hanging inside the chapel is an ornate chandelier. At the base of the sculpture is a pile of dried flowers.

Messiaen’s commentary for Quartet for the End of Time, I. Liturgie de cristal (Crystal Liturgy)

“Between three and four in the morning, the awakening of birds: a solo blackbird or nightingale improvises, surrounded by a shimmer of sound, by a halo of trills lost very high in the trees. Transpose this onto a religious plane and you have the harmonious silence of Heaven.”

Today finishes our week of joy. This pairing of artworks could not be more appropriate in my mind. The wind instruments become the voices of the birds in the tree.

The song in particular reminds me that all of creation receives Christ. Traditional manger scenes often hint at this with the farm animals crowded around watching the infant in pleasant silence. All creation sings.

The sculpture reminds me of the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven as a tree that all the birds of the air come to rest in. There is a melancholic feel to both the sculpture and the song that I can't quite place. I think Messiaen addresses this with the "silence of Heaven." Krames includes fallen flowers and a pile of baby doll parts.

Christ came bringing joy but his life was hard. His family fled to Egypt to escape Herod's genocide of baby boys. With God, it seems all things of joy are paired with sorrow.