Imitation of Christ

Category : ,

Date : 2018

The main idea for this design was inspired by a book called “De Imitatione Christi” (c. 1418–1427) by Thomas Von Kempen; and explains how to follow the steps of Jesus Christ -“Whoever follows Me will not walk into darkness”- renouncing to earthly temptations and vanities. Very moralistic along its four extensive chapters (what do you expect?).

Later we saw for the first time the rituals of “Semana Santa” (Holy week) in Mexico, it was shocking, that is hardcore stuff.
But somehow it resembled that Von Kempen’s book, the “Imitation of Christ” taken to a different level!

The Crucifixion was always our favourite theme in art, its impressive the way artists portrayed the suffering and humiliation of that man.
But we needed something different, something a little far from the traditional depiction. 

Then we remembered the crucified monkey from “Closer” video by Nine Inch Nails, we watched it again and we got some ideas – Tiago also painted some hanging beef before and we believed that was the direction to take. 

We searched for the actions/performances of Herman Nitsch; we saw the painting of Bacon or Soutine and searched for more photographs of Witkin – There we found the best of the references – The Crucified Horse.
It’s a strong photograph (like most of his work), but it matched the model we were looking for.

“Horse Nerves” - from: Anatomia del cavallo, infermità, et suoi rimedii. Carlo Ruini, 1598.
"Crucifixion in Space II" Tiago Pimentel, 2014

With all the references found, we made a collage of ideas, a crucified horse from Witkin with open chest showing the entrails like Nitsch and some other gothic art from the 12th century.

The horse carcass represents the carnal/ physical death  (we are all equal in death) while the human head depicts the transcendence of the soul, leaving the weight of the body. 

The head above was inspired in the outfits from Semana Santa in several towns in Spain (they are creepy and look like the KKK ‘ghost’ dresses). We can read “CURE” written on its mask – it means the triumph over the death (as we see the skull at the bottom) and the immortality of the soul-  Note that the head is in the upper side of the arch –  the horizontal bar of the cross divides the earthly (mortal) realm and the celestial (eternal) realm.

Behind the right hand (with stigmata) we can see a diagram of the “magic bullet” that killed JFK (see the meaning of Treachery in Dallas-available in t-shirt) and on the background we see drawings from Elvis Presley autopsy reports (instead of singing angels with trumpets).

“Crucifix” at Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence. By Cimabue, 1287–1288
“The Slaughtered Ox” - Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655.
“Mnemonic device intended to help one remember the Gospel of Luke, his symbol, the Ox”- from: Rationarum Evangelistarum, woodcut by Petrus von Rosenheim , 1502.
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