Peter Callesen

Light of Man

Drop paper (glass fiber) and glue, 270 x 295 x 30 cm
Drop paper (glass fiber) and glue, 270 x 295 x 30 cm
Drop paper (glass fiber) and glue, 270 x 295 x 30 cm
Drop paper (glass fiber) and glue, 270 x 295 x 30 cm

Light of Man, 2017

Peter Callesen won this commissioned assignment to create a new alter piece for Margrethekirken in Valby, Copenhagen. The project was developed in collaboration with the Danish lighting designer Jesper Kongshaug who renewed the lighting of the church.

Peter Callesen won this commissioned assignment to create a new alter piece for Margrethekirken in Valby, Copenhagen in 2017. The project was developed in collaboration with the Danish lighting designer Jesper Kongshaug who renewed the lighting of the church.

The piece "Light of Man" is made out of three layers of drop paper (glass fiber) and measures approximately 270 x 295 x 30 cm. In the front you see a Christ figure that is made out of all the cut out elements missing from the background papers. The piece is attached on a LED light panel that has different settings depending on the occasion.


"The light is an important part of this piece. Not just as a material but also as a symbol. Several places in the New Testament Jesus is described and describes himself as the light of life and the light of man. In this piece the Christ figure literally lights up. But there is also a light behind Christ, which could be seen as a resurrection and divine light. We do not see God, but we see Jesus because the divine light strikes him, illuminates him, and shines through him.

The title "Light of Man" refers to the Gospel of John but also to the dogma of Jesus’s double character as both God and human being, which I find crucial in Christianity. My intension is that the expression and posture of the figure can be seen both as the crucified Christ and the resurrected Christ.

I want to create an expression that is both powerful and fragile. Powerful in the bright light behind the figure, and fragile in the thin and transparent paper of the figure. The fragility could refer to Jesus on the cross and to the powerlessness and humanity in that situation. This is underlined in the fact that Jesus is depicted as a normal human being and not as something sublime.

Finally, there is also an element of creation in this piece. Concretely the two-dimensional cut-outs are transformed into a three-dimensional human figure. The cut-outs could recall thoughts about patterns for making clothes."
Peter Callesen