Friday, March 30, 2007

My Sweet Lord....

AOG, Madrid

I have just read about the predictable hullabaloo around a work of art surrounding a religious theme. The New York Times has included this article which deals with the recent controversy around a figure of Christ made of chocolate.

As is to be expected, the Christian community is up in arms. I can't see what the big deal is. Is it that the model is nude? I thought we were past being offended by nudity, even that of Christ. It must be then that the sculpture is made of chocolate? If so, then they are offended by a material not considered noble enough...but noble enough for what? Wood is nobler than chocolate? Is that what this month's edition of The Noble Materials Gazette says?

For once I side with the Muslim tenet about idolatry and depicting images of God so as to not promote it. I then began to think that perhaps they don't like the idea of an image of Christ which can be eaten. Has anyone heard about "this is my blood, drink from it, this is my body..."? I find it hard to understand what the controversy is about. If something offends you, avert your gaze. Or as they say, "if you don't like the idea of an abortion, don't have one!"

I have found a link to the artist's page, Cosimo Cavallero, and I find nothing offensive there. At least not offensive to me, and I am very easy to offend. Just like anyone else. I am, however, not very religious. Perhaps the only image on his website which I might find offensive is that of a room which has been covered in cheese spray. I think it is offensive because I feel for the poor woman who might have to clean the room one day, or for the poor curator who will have to look after the piece.

Nonetheless, it would appear like the Christian faith is quite bored and has little else to do than to be offended every other day because of one thing or another.

I'm sorry, have we run out of poor people to feed or sick people to bring succour to? I think some of these Christians have too much time on their hands if all they can do is set up campaigns to inform the world about how offended they are by things.

Personally, I find the sculpture to be quite beautiful. Even more so precisely because of the medium used. It is a new approach to an old theme. Beautiful in many ways. If I ever see it in person, I'm sure I'll add other adjectives to the work of art.

A few days ago, in Spain, there blew up a controversy regarding a few images which were deemed sacrilegious by the Catholic community. They depicted images of naked saints, nuns, and erect images of Christ. Part of the controversy is that public money was used to finance the project. Many religious people saw them as lewd. I leave to each viewer the responsibility of making up his/her own mind. I think it is another form of artistic expression and that public money is usually put to worse use. For example to line the pockets of local officials now and then (if you have been following the news about corruption in Spain, you know about local officials being bribed by construction companies to allow the turning of protected forests and beaches into construction sites, amongst other petty- though major- crimes).

As I see them, they merely depict the physical and human side of these figures. I understand that to see an image of Christ with an erection must be hard to bear at first. And yet, I can also see how it would help to humanize him by making Christ into a normal man. I suppose that his humanization is what the flock cannot take; I suppose they would prefer their God to remain something not of this earth. And yet, if you are a Christian, you are taught that Jesus was a man of flesh and blood.
This is the link to the images. You have to click on Sanctorum. They were made in 2003. Bear in mind that if you are religious, they may offend you.


Anonymous said...

i was researching the issue of 'the chocolate christ' such as 'my sweet lord' is, as a reference to draw from in presenting the issue of censorship of artwork on religious grounds.

i am supposed to be talking about the issue of censorhip, obviously, but i find it much easier to drop in here and share your opinion on the 'my sweet lord' issue.

i mean, bill donohue as the president of the catholic league, is obviously one of these people that you are talking about. he is too worried about how artistic freedom is breaching religious freedom rights or even public rights poking at the fact that public money is being used to finance such a 'blasphemous' project.

is it not clear that these catholic leagues are pointing at their own hypocrisy? as you say, instead of them fulfilling their promises to be voluntary helpers of the community, their time and resources are being used unwisely to nitpick at an issue that they have created.

but there have been many controversial issues where such religious leagues have made themselves concerned, for example the piss christ and madonna and child II both by artist andres aerrano.

i think it's funny that these sorts of issues are used as a backbone to devising a definition to 'freedom rights'.

anyway... i just thought i'd comment. i think my dicontentment has been made clear... or to an extent.

i shall borrow you point about humanizing the christ. it is indeniably true.


Goriaïnoff said...

Thank you for dropping in and sharing your view.

I hope one day the Church will concern itself with more serious matters....