Bububu-2. Crngrn Jrnl. Issue 19. Electric Christ in Kotor
The church of St. Paul in Kotor belongs to a local museum, it has been very stylishly restored, a laconic sterile space, with archaeology under the glass floor. It has remnants of the 13th century façade on its current façade (the existing building is mostly a 16th century one), the church clutches to the mountain, it has a rich and controversial history, including being a female prison which was located here in the first half of the 20th century, but let us get back, to the dry geometry of the interior announced in the first phrase.
The Electroboutique group from Moscow (Aristarkh Chernyshev and Aleksey Shulgin) presents the JESUS TOUCH objet d’art here (under the roof of Kotor-art and Dukley European Art Community). This is a cross made of five monitors with alternating art reproductions of crucifixes by various painters of old times; i.e. formally, these are fragments of reproductions, no more than a half of the volume of the painting is used each time, but it is the half with the body of the Savior. If a screen is touched, one crucifix slides away and the next one moves into its place, with about thirty crucifixes currently sitting in the program, according to Chernyshev; their number is growing.
The piece is clear, neat, interesting from the usage viewpoint, and useful for the brain (as an erudition test of who painted which Christ) and for the soul, if the latter is duly set. It fits the space perfectly – both in terms of geometry and, clearly, the content. At the private view, discussions would flare up here and there:
— shouldn’t the cables and the system unit below have been hidden somewhere (that was my thought to which I got an argumented objection that some light – signature for the contemporary – carelessness, with the technical liver exposed, is appropriate, as this is a kind of an approach to the theme of the vanity of being)
— and what if the effect of touch was made more complicated so that the picture would also slide horizontally, not only vertically (then it could be different)
— and wouldn’t much of the effect be lost if the cross was moved to a different space (generally, E- boutique displays this project at different venues, including regular museums, but I have not seen it there so I cannot make a judgment; by the way, it is believed that in the future DEAC will set up a “chapel” (a hut, a cavern, a kiosk) for the Christ in Budva)
— and would much be added to the piece if it stood in a functional church (there is nothing strange about this thought; Bill Viola has done a lot for churches, anyone who is interested in the matter can give other examples; it was decided that an electric cross in a church would suggest much positive about the priest but add no particular quality to the piece)
— and what a simple move, like Neuer’s pass from his own penalty area to the opponent’s, is used to introduce the “everyone has their own Christ” topic
— and look what a good example of interaction between the religious and the secular, but I do not want to develop the topic as it sounds of elements of excuses and explanations, like the need to legitimize and excuse the right for the contemporary to fragment paintings with Christ and to integrate the result into the sacral space, whereas nothing like this needs to be excused or legitimized.
I love such art where the gesture is banal but the effect is not banal, where the message is laconic but the discussion grows broad, where the technical and sculptural solution is not pretentious or fat but, at the same time, there is no reveling in “poverty” (which irritates, for example, in another Kotor project of E-boutique, the Artomat, displayed in Jugooceania). JESUS TOUCH is pure gesture, one of the successes of the “Montenegro culture project”.