Art, religion, text.

I’d like to make some notes according to what goes into my sphere of interests. I mean contemporary Russian art and religion. Let’s have a look, what role plays text in such an art.

First of all, it must be mentioned, that when we speak about orthodox religious art, we will always find text, which has sacred sense. Just take any icon.


For example, looking at the icon of Jesus, you will definitely see Greek letters W O H, which are the name of God. Traditionally, icon is considered to be finished, when it has a text. It means the spiritual combination of the image and the name.

And contemporary art plays on it. We will start from 1980s when “соц-арт” starts using iconographical images.


This is the “icon”, where we can see artist Melamid, who is painted as a saint, and the typical Soviet slogan. Obviously, “sacred” Soviet industrial plan is ironically played up here.

In 90s with the development of consumption in Russia, we get such works:



Here iconographical image lets the place to the poster. But we have the image of Jesus and his words. He, supposedly, tries to show to us, that our values had changed not in the best way.

Another interesting thing happens already in 2000s. Here we have the performance of artist Oleg Mavromatti, who uses his own body as canvas and writes on his spine words: “I am not God’s son”.


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