Monday, 19 October 2015

Gothic Art in Spotlight: biblical irony or devotion?

I had once again grand plans to make a new Creepy Reads Review but the truth is I have not had any chance to read anything else but things related to my studies. I've been feeling very stressed for the past few weeks and it has manifested in many ways, one being that I have not had the energy to read or read and comment other blogs. I believe this abstinence of blogger contact makes me more melancholic and passive, so I do try to get back into blog sphere!The best way, I hope, is to write a post.

I managed to have a short break of my overwhelming studies and went to the Espoo Museum of Modern Art aka EMMA. It is situated in the facilities of Weegee exhibition center with four other museums and one futuristic cabin that looks like a flying saucer. The exhibition center is about 20 minutes bus drive from the centrum of Helsinki, so it is a great place to visit if you are on a weekend trip in the capital of Finland.

There were many a beautiful and intriguing art works to see but here is the one that I thought was the most suitable for Gothic Art in Spotlight.

This work is made by a Finnish artist Pauno Pohjolainen 2009. It is mixed media on wood and the name of it is Court Jester. I had seen Pohjolainen's works previously but they were more abstract. From this photo you can see how 3D this artwork is. Pohjolainen's works are often quite massive and are somewhere between paintings and sculptures.

Year 2011 he has made two public works to the Cathedral of Turku. They represent the Last Supper and can be found from the artist's webpage. The webpage is unfortunately in Finnish but just scroll to the year 2011, it is easy to spot which artworks have biblical reference in them. :)

I actually find this really interesting, because the Court Jester has clear biblical allusion in it but it is not necessarily positive or without critic or irony. At least I see a lot of resemblance between the crown of thorns and this hovering circle above the skull.

I see a clear point of contact between the Savior of Christian mythology and this skull with thorns. The skull, not being human, is against Christian mythology that very clearly separates humans from animals and places man above other creatures. On the other hand, the sacrificial lamb is a powerful symbol in the Christian mythology and the face of this creature does resemble a lamb a bit.

The name of this artwork also highlight a power structure, even though it is not strictly biblical. A court jester was an anomaly, a person in a court that supposedly had no power and was ridiculous but had the possibility to bring visible other people's schemes for power. The skull is grinning a wide fool's smile with its teeth partly scattered outside its mouth. The horns are also rich of significance: the other one is broken, why? Do they resemble a Fool's Hat or more likely the biblical Devil?

I like Court Jester because it is open to various interpretations. What do you think of it?