Altar, is a 2014 work by Kis Martin. It consists of an empty steel frame in the shape of an altarpiece. Specifically, the shape of the frame is a direct reference to the famous Ghent Altarpiece. The artwork is intentionally empty so that it becomes a window through which the ocean of the beach of Ostend can be viewed.

Kris Martin Altar, 2014

Commentary by Messiaen for VI. Par Lui tout a été fait (By Him all has been made):

“Expansion of spaces and durations; galaxies, photons, reversed spirals, inverted thunderbolts; by “him” (the Word) all has been made … at one moment, the creation has opened for us the luminous shadow of his Voice …

It is a fugue. The subject is never presented the same way: from the second entry, it is changed in rhythm and registers. Note the divertissement where the upper voice treats the subject in non-retrogradable rhythm taken out to the left and right, where the bass repeats fortissimo a fragment of the subject in asymmetrical enlargement. Middle [section] on very short and very long values (infinitely small and infinitely large) …

Reprise of the retrograded fugue, a “crab” canon [the second voice enters with the notes of the leading voice in reverse]. Mysterious strettos [layered entries]. The Theme of God fortissimo: victorious presence, the face of God behind the flame and the gushing out. The creation takes up and chants the Theme of God in a canon of chords.”

Our approaches to God can be indirect, even though we try earnestly to see Him as He is. Occasionally we get glimpses of His Being that are so direct we are stunned. Things aren’t the way we expected them to be. We look to His altar and see a reflection of His creation that bursts through our conceptions of church buildings. We look directly into the expanse of the universe and behold cosmic entities that we can’t fully understand. They are beautiful; they are terrifying. We feel small in relation to God and the creation that we inhabit.

Lord - help us to feel small, so that You can be great. Our conceptions of Your world are false, and we need You to break them down so that we can see You more clearly. Help us to have the courage to experience You as You really are, even if it makes us feel temporarily uneasy. To better know Your love is life itself.