Museo Marino Marini

Looking for Jesus

Evento inserito nella rassegna Late One Morning

What were the features of Christ’s face during the time of his earthly preaching in Roman-era Palestine? What would Jesus look like today, if he were to return and walk the streets of the world? Layer upon layer of Christian iconography and theory has fed the debate on the human nature of Christ for over a millennium. There have been numerous interpretations on this theme, articulated in heretical conflicts that arose in the early centuries of the church, such as in the case of Donatism, which held Christ to be absent of a carnal nature, even denying his own human birth and thus erasing the wholly earthly scandal of the crucifixion. Throughout the churches of the Middle East, such as the Egyptian Coptic and Jacobite Syrian, Monophysitism shared a great deal with Islamic theology of the same era, with its aversion to debating human aspects of the prophets, among whom Islam includes Christ.
In Procurando Jesus/Looking for Jesus (2013), born during one of his visits to Jordan, Jonathas De Andrade interviewed people in Amman, the Jordanian capital, asking them to re-imagine in our time the face and features of Christ, son of God and the second figure of the Trinity in Christian culture, as well as prophet of the first rank in the Islamic cult. The incentive of the artist was to generate new thinking about the historical and human figure of Jesus, updating it to our modern age in order to decolonise it from centuries of iconographic and ideological standards built up in the artistic, philosophical, and political spheres—standards that have conveyed a predominantly white, European, and Western version of Christ. Moving beyond the taboo of the iconographic representation of God and the prophets, as in the Islamic tradition, the artistic work of De Andrade rests on a radically secular foundation, and aims to inspire a social debate on a possible new Christ—Arab, Eastern, and completely human—with a new model of civil and inter-religious dialogue within the difficult social context of the Middle East.

Presented for the first time in Europe in the new exhibit space at the Marino Marini Museum, Procurando Jesus/Looking for Jesus (2014) reveals the reactions of the people interviewed as well as what face, characteristics and identity Jesus of Nazareth could have today, a time of complete globalisation. The dialogues by extension result in the creation of vehicle for expressing images, expectations, and wishes, becoming almost a fragmented, collective portrait of the country.

The event is organized as part of the regional project Toscanaincontemporanea 2013.
Courtesy Enea Righi Collection / Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paulo (Brasile) e Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin