Blood Tears Faith Doubt was an exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London 17 June to 18 July 2010. It was curated by the MA Curating Students from The Courtauld Institute of Art
The exhibition drew parallels between works of art from the fifteenth century to the present day to address themes of suffering, compassion, devotion and belief. It juxtaposed works in order to to provoke an emotive response and to emphasise the continuing power of religious imagery, even in the secular context of the art gallery. This exhibition brought together painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and decorative arts.
Drawn from The Courtauld Gallery and the Arts Council Collection, it included old masters Andrea Mantegna, Polidoro da Caravaggio, and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, and contemporary artists Adam Chodzko, Mark Fairnington, Siobhán Hapaska, and Grayson Perry.
Blood Tears Faith Doubt staged two encounters: between the works themselves, sparking dialogue between images of striking or surprising similarity, and between the works and the beholder, whose engagement and empathy with the subject and its portrayal remains central to the enduring power of religious art. The exhibition united works from the Western tradition of Christian art and contemporary works that resonate with that tradition. It explored how these images were used and viewed historically, and considered whether their appropriation in contemporary art can evoke the same intensity of emotion as they did in the past.
The central themes of Blood Tears Faith Doubt were explored in the exhibition in three sections: mother and child, private devotion, faith and incredulity. The first section presented images of the Madonna in a range of guises. She is seen as nurturing mother in Virgin and Child with Saint Jerome (1510-30) by Giampietrino, in Mark Fairnington’s The Greek Madonna (1993), and in the disturbing imagery of Grayson Perry’s Spirit Jar (1994). In Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s Lamentation over the dead Christ (18th century), she is presented as a bereft and grieving figure. The Pietà is further recalled in the sculpted hand holding wilted flowers of Phil Brown’s Untitled (Hand) (1993).
In the pivotal space of the darkened central room, two intense and intimate devotional works—Christ Crowned with Thorns by a follower of Dieric Bouts (c. 1475) and an ivory diptych (14th century) featuring the Madonna and Child and a Lamentation scene—were presented in a setting which restored to them something of their original function and power.
In the final space, in striking contrast, life-size works confronted the viewer. In Polidoro da Caravaggio’s painting Incredulity of Saint Thomas (1531-35), the disciple demands tangible proof of Christ’s resurrection. Alongside, Siobhán Hapaska’s Saint Christopher (1995) was a disturbingly real and immediate physical presence. Elsewhere, Adam Chodzko’s Secretors, blood-red droplets of ‘manifestation juice’, were a subliminal presence, a ‘seepage from other realities’, as the artist describes them.
This innovative exhibition offered the opportunity to experience rarely-seen and diverse works
|Other Corporate or Group Contributors:|
|Type of Research:||Show/Exhibition|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Wimbledon College of Art|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Locations / Venues:|
|Deposited By:||Mark Fairnington|
|Deposited On:||21 Feb 2012 10:40|
|Last Modified:||21 Feb 2012 10:40|