After Images

The Problem of God, Exhibition at K21 Dusseldorf,  September, 2015 – January, 2016 

Curator Isabelle Malz

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Catalogue text

The group of images, objects, and practices that we call art in the contemporary sense of the word is a relatively recent phenomenon, compared to the very long history of producing and circulating religious images, which only later became religious art. Within the context of the monotheist traditions, hostile to figurative representations of the divine, Christianity developed a complex theology of the image and left a massive visual legacy that constituted a substantial part of what we today call “Western art.” This was followed by a period of gradual waning of religious art, and then of religious themes within art. The twentieth century saw the detachment of spiritual expressions from organised religion and their reintegration within art when artists gradually reused religious iconography but in a very different way compared to those who chose or were commissioned to create art for religious purposes or with a religious function.The group of images, objects, and practices that we call art in the contemporary sense of the word is a relatively recent phenomenon, compared to the very long history of producing and circulating religious images, which only later became religious art. Within the context of the monotheist traditions, hostile to figurative representations of the divine, Christianity developed a complex theology of the image and left a massive visual legacy that constituted a substantial part of what we today call “Western art.” This was followed by a period of gradual waning of religious art, and then of religious themes within art. The twentieth century saw the detachment of spiritual expressions from organised religion and their reintegration within art when artists gradually reused religious iconography but in a very different way compared to those who chose or were commissioned to create art for religious purposes or with a religious function.

 

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