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"Litteris pro laicis" (Lat. "Literature for the laity")

Installation, 2019, 130×250 cm

Description of the artwork «"Litteris pro laicis" (Lat. "Literature for the laity")»

The title of the work primarily refers to the statement of the medieval monk, theologian and philosopher Honorius Augustodunsky, who said at the beginning of the XII century that painting is literature for the laity. Even before this statement, the Christian Cathedral in Arras in 1025 decided the purpose of art not only in enjoying the image and allegory, but most importantly - in the education of commoners who can not read. This was the turning point in the history of the development of European art, the entire visual culture and worldview.

The statement of Honorius Augustodunsky finds new meanings in combination with the central part - an allusion to the famous “shelves” of the leading minimalist painter of the twentieth century, Donald Judd. They were created according to his drawings in factories and assembled in the museum space according to his exact calculations, but without his direct participation. In this case, Judd's metal bars replace books - also an element of unification, but earlier, because from the 15th century typography began to supplant the handwritten tradition, which contributed to the education of the masses on the one hand, and a decrease in the value and uniqueness of books and words on the other. The visualization of what was written by a medieval theologian becomes literal: painting becomes books - literature and vice versa.
On the roots of books in Hebrew is written “mene, mene, tekel, uparsin” - words inscribed on the wall with a mysterious hand during the feast of the Babylonian king Belshazzar shortly before the fall of Babylon, foretelling the death of the ruler and his kingdom. In this case, these words can be a symbol of accurate measurement and scientific knowledge, for centuries associated with books and transmitted with their help: calculated, measured, verified ("Mene - God calculated your kingdom and put an end to it, Tekel - you are weighed on the scales and found very light "Daniel 5: 26-27). On the other hand, they are a portent of the end of the era of books as the basis of human knowledge, the metaphysical apocalypse - the moment of irrevocable transition to another stage of civilization (the metaphorical death of Belshazzar), the change of the book era of the son of God of God to the non-material era of the holy spirit.
The background of the work is the silhouette of Leonardo’s famous fresco "The Last Supper" - one of the most important subjects in Christian iconography, which reached its apotheosis in the work of the High Renaissance master. The outlines of the holy apostles consist of dry moss.
An important reference point in the work is time. Time - necessary to paint a mural only on raw stucco before it dries, time - which began to destroy the creation of a genius during his lifetime, time - which after half a millennium seems to us something unimaginably beautiful, a "childhood" of mankind full of incredible discoveries and naive admiration for by man and nature, time - when any new and shocking work of art grows with a kind of "moss" of mainstream reverence and tourist worship, but loses its lively inexhausted strength and the impression that a cat Roe is produced on their contemporaries, time - are covered by the museum dust, even clean and tending to the absolute minimalist art, transforming it into an ancient artifact.
Painting, which got its way as literature for those who cannot read, in the twentieth century was transformed and went very far from the painting and from the images that could be read by everyone. Today, the inverted expression of Honorius of Augustodunsky is more appropriate - art cannot be understood by a person “from the laity” unless its literal adaptation, decoding of the code is written, that is, literature has become a painting for the laity, without it art cannot be understood and ultimately accepted . Literature is the right to the existence of modern art, its legitimization.
"But formidable letters long ago on the wall
It draws a fatal hand ... "
and it’s hard to imagine what the future relationship of the most ancient and deepest means of human communication - the word and image will be.
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About the artwork

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Art form: Installation

Subject and objects: Allegorical scene, Historical scene

Style of art: Conceptualism

Technique: Assemblage

Materials: Acrylic, Fiberboard, Dry moss, Stones, sand

Date of creation: 2019

Size: 130×250 cm

Artwork in selections: 1 selection


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