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Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Centurian and Stormtrooper Crucifixion

The latest Visual Meditation for ArtWay is by Tim Harrold on his own piece entitled The Centurian:

'The Centurion is in part a response to Stormtrooper Crucifixion by Ryan Callahan, which was part of the Stations of the Cross exhibition at St Stephen Walbrook in London in March 2018. This controversial artwork gained much publicity. The Centurion would not have been made were it not for the discovery of a toy Stormtrooper among the collected junk in my studio. So when it was found, I began to think about making a piece that offered an alternative to Stormtrooper Crucifixion.

The Centurion is an assemblage using a mixture of found objects, paint, and printed and handwritten material. It sits in an old drawer from a German chest of drawers ...

The Centurion depicts an icon of contemporary pop culture – a Stormtrooper character from the Star Wars movie franchise – playing the part of the centurion at the crucifixion of Jesus. The casting of the toy Stormtrooper as the centurion seems only natural. Both represent oppression and empire. Both represent regimentation and tyranny. Both represent control by fear. The hand coming through the door is Christ’s. Jesus said, “I am the door.” Here he is reaching into the centurion’s life through his death and resurrection, through his sacrificial blood and healing wounds, through the portal between the dimensions of heaven and earth.'

In the wake of the ill-informed controversy regarding the exhibition of Stormtrooper Crucifixion, I wrote a piece setting out some of the reasons why such a piece should be exhibited in a church - Tim Harold's The Centurian and his  ArtWayVisual Meditation demonstrate the value of conversation rather than censorship in regard to controversial works.

More of Tim Harrold's work and writings can be viewed on the ArtWay site. See Looking for clues: the cryptic, the puzzling and the parabolic in the search for meaning and John Espin & Tim Harrold: The Doors of Perception. My review of Tim Harrold's The Perceptualist Eye exhibition at the Wellhouse Gallery can be found here.

The next exhibition at St Stephen Walbrook is Exiles, a body of work by London based Italian photographer Matilde Damele from 17th to 24th September 2019. Taken on the streets of London with her Leica camera, Damele’s black and white photographs evoke and pay homage to great Masters of Photography such as Henri CartierBresson, Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter. For this exhibition, the artist has enlarged and transferred a number of her images onto the challenging surface of the black plastic bin bag. The uneven surface of these art works emphasises the individuality as well as the ephemerality of each of our lives. She will display these as sculptural art works within the circular space of the church, filled with yesterday’s news and discarded packaging, to express how many consider their lives to be cheap, valueless and disposable.

Other of my pieces for Church Times can be found here. My writings for ArtWay can be found here. Those for Artlyst are here and those for Art+Christianity are here.


The Call - Scene Beyond Dreams.

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