'Bride' is the term for a woman on her wedding day. It is usually customary for the bride to wear a special wedding dress on her wedding day. This clearly served as a source of inspiration for the artist. We can see a white sculpture made of poplar wood that strongly resembles a human being, but simultaneously differs so greatly from a human that it looks more like a building.
The sculpture has an unmistakably sacral aura. The material, roughly cut wood, makes the sculpture seem primitive, like a shamanistic figure of a primitive tribe. This impression is further enhanced by the stylised limitation of the form without details, by the inhuman proportions of the head compared to the dress, and by the arms, which are reduced to crosses. On her head, the woman wears a cap reminiscent of old-fashioned costumes. In addition, she is standing still on four small legs, with a stiffness not usually associated with the feminine.
The headdress on the head and the fragile way in which the bodice of the tower-like dress hangs around the shoulders are the most feminine features of the sculpture. The closed bodice and the block-shaped combination of the head and the headdress crown the tower, which undoubtedly brings to mind the Tower of Babel as it was painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Everyone is familiar with that painting and its storeyed rows of rectangular and gate-shaped openings, which provide access to the interior from the galleries. The proverbial confusion of tongues associated with that tower is also a feature of this sculpture, which is not a nun, a shaman or a woman, but something with properties of all three.
Naturally, this sacred sculpture will acquire Christian connotations as soon as we place it in a former convent. There have been female mystics, beguines and nuns who saw themselves as the bride of Christ. In this case, there is also room for confusion with a text from the Bible (Revelations 19:6,7), which speaks of the 'marriage of the Lamb', which some interpret as Israel being appointed as His bride. Being a bride can express a desire for love - between a nun and 'her' church, for example - but it can also be an affirmation of an old-fashioned social convention, whereby the woman could only truly be somebody by being 'the wife of' her husband and by being completely dependant on him.
Klaus Hack's big bride seems to transcend this discussion. With its height of two and a half metres, this bride is larger than any of us and her bridal gown provides access, like an open building, to anyone who loves her.