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Presence in Contemporary Religious Art Graham Sutherland and Antony Gormley

   | 10 août 2020
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In the Footsteps of the Divine Artist. On the Religious and Spiritual Dimension in Art. Editors: Wessel Stoker and Frank G. Bosman
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This article analyses the topic of presence in modern and contemporary religious art by means of the work of two artists. Graham Sutherland’s Christ in Glory (1951-1962) will be compared to the Buddhism-inspired works of Antony Gormley. Sutherlands Christ in Glory is intended to show Christ’s presence to the involved observer: the invisible Christ can become present through interaction with Christ in Glory in the same way that Christ becomes present through prayer. Viewed in connection with other works by Gormley, Land, Sea, and Air II (1982) is intended to show presence to the viewer, the body as presence. This concerns an attitude of quiet concentration and awareness in connection with the ‘elemental’ world. Theologically speaking, the difference between Christ in Glory and Gormley’s works is as follows: the Christian tradition views the human being as a creation of God. He or she lives in his or her presence only in dependence on God. For Gormley, it has to do with a presence without God the creator. The human being is present as body and awareness in a world in which everything is uncertain. There is an unmistakable difference in their views of presence, but that does not mean, as we will see, that Gormley’s work cannot be fruitful for the Christian religion. Gormley’s Sound II in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral points the involved observer to the importance of the renewal of life after baptism through meditation as an important part of Christian spirituality.

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Sujets de la revue:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception