Saturday, November 21, 2009

tracey emin and the popes

two interesting things happened in the last week or so:

1. tracey emin wins art + christian enquiry (ACE) award for [i]art in a christian context[/i] -- tracey emin?! she of the tent with the names of everyone she had ever slept (and not necessarily sexually, mind you) with embroidered on it? she of the frank and overt sexuality? she of the abject and throwaway? hmm...but she is also the tracey emin who repeatedly, and directly, without the subterfuge and obfuscation of many other artists, addresses God in her work. i remember reading an interview where she noted that no one ever discusses the religious/ spiritual aspect of her work and instead focus on the shock/ scatological aspects. in an interview with sarah douglas, tracey states:
Judge my work, that’s fine. It’s here, it’s on the wall. But don’t judge my soul. So even though it sounds a little tongue-in-cheek, it isn’t. And in terms of God — not religion, but in terms of God — I have a vast amount of faith, and belief.
and it's not the only time her connection to faith is mentioned. try here, for instance. i find her increasingly fascinating.

2. pope benedict met with artists from around the world in the sistine chapel to discuss the relationship between the church and artists, and the possibilities of Beauty - a gesture of reconciliation and entreaty. it happened to have occurred on the tenth anniversary of pope john paul II's letter to artists, as well as the 45th anniversary of pope paul VI's original meeting with artists in 1964. see the full text of pope benedict's address here.

pjp2's letter starts with "to all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new epiphanies of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world". epiphanies of Beauty. lovely.

that's one of the primary ideas i'm currently exploring - the once again acceptable idea of Beauty. dostoyevsky said that "Beauty will save the world", and the idea often finds itself linked to Truth, [moral] goodness, hope. i find that Beauty is invoked a lot in contemporary art, especially art that explores spiritual content. i'd definitely be interested in any suggestions for reading, exploring, thinking about the role of Beauty in art and the world.

(more later)