"remove yourself at once from the goggle [sic] images of Our Lady of Tears...you are an emotional and mental cripple and spiritually bancrupt [sic]! please go back to the hole you crawled out of and STAY THERE!"
- someone obviously on a spiritually heightened level, via e-mail, 2 Jan '06
As you see, this "consumer feedback" on my 2003 triptych Our Ladies of Pleasure, Pain and Tears was already sent me soon after last New Year, but I didn't think then it would be worth mention. It's interesting that someone actually bothers to comment my silly little works of "outsider art" (for the lack of a better word), if even in such a harebrained way. Amazing -- I didn't really believe that someone would actually care. Obviously there are people who live in a very different world to us Scandinavians in our cosy little and totally secularized laissez faire society. Now I wonder what would have happened if instead of the iconography of Christianity I'd have used those of Islam here...? Probably I would now live in a secret location safehouse under a 24-hour police security.
If someone asks my own position as to religion, I always just answer them I'm an agnostic. My own argument remains that us human beings with our limited sensory skills and ultimately lacking resources of observation can't really prove the existence of God, neither the non-existence of God. Either answer would really be intellectually unsatisfying, because in either case there would always be too much room for doubt. All attempts in either direction would be totally futile, and since I'm not that inclined to any deeper philosophical thinking in such a way that I would love to struggle for hours on metaphysical questions like this, I just bypass this question. Lazy? Perhaps, but at least more pragmatic. You can't fool me into argumentation about this. I consider people's religious (or non-/anti-religious) views personal and private, as their sex lives, and likewise really no-one else's business -- until they themselves want to be exhibitionist about them.
And as a definition of any sort, I find "agnosticism" ultimately not satisfying either. Perhaps a sort of "Zen-pantheism" would be closer there to describe my own worldview. Go figure that out.
Anyway, you don't find any great love for any sort of bigots and fanatics from me. I don't mind anyone calling me an "emotional cripple" (or a mental one at that, heh heh), but if a person making those sort of claims implies thus being somehow superior and in comparison on an advanced "spiritual" level, you don't really know whether to laugh or cry.
I can't claim to be any great expert in the matters of religion but I think all monotheistic religions deriving from the Middle East area -- Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- are all more or less against idolatry, the worshipping of images; the basic reasoning being that the Divine, God, Jahve, Allah, whatever name you want to use, is something far beyond and greater than any man-made imagery can convey. Therefore I can't understand how an image of a naked woman on a cross (or Serrano's figurine of Christ in a tank filled with urine) could really be blasphemous, since they are only making use of temporal man-made iconography; which is only a finger pointing to the Moon, not the Moon itself. Jesus was not afraid of the darker and seedier side of life, mingling with prostitutes, criminals and other people considered pariahs in his time. Sex, lust, violence, death, drugs, diseases, madness and the general ugliness of life were all there as a backdrop. His quest was to find a way to the "other side" (call it "salvation" if you want) despite all these things, to go beyond all this. I hate having to interpret my own works, but perhaps this was something I tried to come across with when I created my "triptych". Therefore I can't find myself guilty of blasphemy or feel that I owe apologies to anyone (only for the crummy artistic style of mine, perhaps).
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