La chapelle de Bethléem
A small 15th-century chapel in the south-west of France boasts, as gargoyles, Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gizmo and a Gremlins gremlin.
If Ridley Scott’s Xenomorph was going to be the consequence of not going to church, we’re pretty sure a few more people would be gracing the pews.
The Chapelle de Bathléem is a small 15th-century Gothic chapel in the south-west of France. Like most sacred architecture of that era, it’s decorated by stone grotesqueries, a physical representation of the evils that may be awaiting the sinful — or of what we have inside.
Between 1993 and 1995, the building was set to restoration, with stonemason Jean-Louis Boistel restoring the pinnacles and gargoyles. But he added a few cultural icons into the mix.
According to his website, Boistel believed that he needed to “re-create a medieval bestiary in this 20th century to the dawn of the 21st century… Chimeras are par excellence, our inner demons, the fruit of our fantasies, duality between good and evil. Angels or demons, animals allegorical or real, the chimera is not evil, it is an invitation to let our inner demons out to enter the chapel of purification”.
Gizmo and the Gremlin symbolise the unconscious; Gizmo is “The good monster that everyone has in him, not nasty, sweet but ugly, it calls for compassion and pity. But there are things that a man should not do with it, risks that generates a good monster evil demon control”. The gremlin is “The evil demon created by the good demon. The gremlin plagiarises all through man and exalt. He has no fear and limits, not really cruel, it is no less destructive, dangerous attitudes, reckless.”
And the Alien, Leviathan: “This is the dragon of the Apocalypse 21-3, which embodies the strength of God, the power of evil, is that some features of chaotic snake. Nothingness, absolute, where everything is possible in horror, he is the rival of God, having the power of life and death, capable of swallowing the sun, and also the symbol of the divine, that God can overcome by his word and his faith transmitted by men.”