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Breaking ResemblanceThe Role of Religious Motifs in Contemporary Art$
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Alena Alexandrova

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823274475

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823274475.001.0001

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The Body Recast

The Body Recast

The Sculpture of Berlinde de Bruyckere

(p.184) Chapter 8 The Body Recast
Breaking Resemblance
Alena Alexandrova
Fordham University Press

The chapter discusses a group of works by Berlinde De Bruyckere. Recurring themes in her work are the fragility and mortality of the human body. Jelle Luipaardand Hanne include references to religious iconography, but the motifs are strongly modified. These interrupted resemblances to religious art address not only the history of Christian art, but also a set of deeper questions concerning the functioning of the image and its presentation in different contexts. The figurative power of morbid, vulnerable figures coexists with an interest in making visible the very operations of producing the sculptures. Jelle Luipaard critically addresses the violence in religious iconography because it displaces a central religious image (the crucifixion) we are used to seeing and repeats its violence in order to confront its viewer with its logic. In this way the work acquires a critical agency without being a scandalous image from a religious viewpoint. On the other hand, it addresses our desire to make images safe by deeming them as art. The sculpture does not represent death as a reminder of our mortality, but addresses the very issue of its figuration in an art context.

Keywords:   acheiropoietos, body, counter-time, death, iconoclasm, presentation, religious iconography, resemblance, sculpture, spectatorship, violence

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