(Vater) Vater, Sohn und Heiliger Geist

mixed media triptych

10" x 12"
1998

Three symbols: a burning bush, a sun and a tongue of flame. Beneath, a series of German words: a register of WWII concentration camps, a litany of German euphemisms for the genocidal destruction of the European Jewry and the label directions from a Zyklon-B canister of cyanide. A relationship is suggested between the text and image, between Trinitarian fire iconography and the Holocaust. It is perhaps in dialogue with events and ideas that challenge rather than affirm a comfortable faith that the static signs of Christianity can be transformed into rich symbols, pregnant with nuance. In both my art and my scholarly work I like to ask questions about the way in which symbols form, reinforce or challenge the identity of a community, particularly the way in which artists can intensify or open up the possibilities of a religious symbol rather pin a meaning down on it.