St. Francis of Assisi, The renunciation of his worldly possessions
St Francis appears to have female generalisation and a male torso. Perhaps ‘he’ gave up his penis. Is a penis ever ‘worldly’? Perhaps ‘she’ gave up her breasts. Separated from the others who wish to cover his nudity, perhaps it’s friends and peers Francis wants to give up. Does the fact that this dubious suffering trans-saint hang to the left have any significance?
Pray naked and think of ‘Him’ up above?
A critique of those two romanticise suffering and poverty and associate it with a route to producing value and truth. The general public still enjoys these narratives, demands them even. Maybe the distraction of the painted panel introduces a narrative of historical and contemporary violence in the name of religion; probably that’s too obvious. Closer inspection reveals that the bashing the work has been subjected to sits alongside cuts which appear to be made with great deliberation and care. A tiny hacksaw or a sharp knife? It cold be about the work of that bearded Austria uber-father psychologist after all. Castrated, cut off, severed, hacked at, separated, excommunicated. He turns his back to the ones on the right. The might prefer to imagine him ‘well hung’ but they’re all on the floor, broken. Too much self-imposed suffering leads to delusions of worth, and the suffering induced by others also makes you a cliche. No wonder someone smashed it up.
(From New Contemporaries catalogue 2010)