STEPHAN DOITSCHINOFF

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INTERVENTU

Irish Museum of Modern Art - Dublin, 2017

“As Above So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics”

Curated by Rachel Thomas and Sam Thorne

Installation: Wood, brass, copper and fabric.

 

Interventu (from Latin Intervention) has its origin in a research about votive practice and the various kinds of ex-votos, which are objects offered to saints and divinities in exchange for a grace. From the appropriation of original ex-votos from Juazeiro do Norte (Brazil), intervention in objects of the same nature, yet to be ritualized (anatomical sculptures in wood or paraffin), the addition of lace and brass, and the creation of other entities, the artist conceived a great altar for the façade of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The altar is composed of the following works. Nubes lacrimarum, Spectrum, Palma Votiva, and two portals with modified ex-votos made for the project.

 

Nubes Lacrimarum (from Latin Tear drop Cloud) and Spectrum (from Latin Ghosts) are sculptures made of second hand clothes, specially bridal, first communion, and baptism dresses, as well as bed linen. In the pilgrimage sanctuaries this kind of clothing is very often offered as a gift to the saints, besides photographs, paintings (portraits), and various objects (graduation rings, crutches, baby layettes, and cribs). In each layer of fabric in the cloud and ghosts (hand stitched in the most part), histories, wishes and promises reverberate in space.

 

The cloud structure is inspired in the banners used in parades, and the baldachin of the cathedrals, which in the installation guard the Votive Palma ex-voto. In the conception of the ghosts, the color and volume were directly influenced by Afro-Brazilian religions (candomblé, Umbanda, quibanda), specifically the Mães de Santos’ (Ialorixás) clothing. The triangular shape is similar to Virgin Mary’s representations. Each Spectrum integrates a portal with wooden ex-votos decorated with lace and brass.

 

Palma Votiva, was sculpted in brass and deep-drawn carved, casted, cut and welded pieces, and has eighteen symbols incrusted in its palm. The symbols are recurrent in the artist’s work, most of them created by the artist’s (like Scythe with Moth, Crowned Bowels, and Crooked Steps Ladder), except for the candles (from Umbanda). Doitschinoff regards it as a giant ex-voto.

 

The portals with ex-votos modified with lace and brass form the base of the altar. Each portal suggests a way to reflection about the votive practice, pilgrimages, and journeys to devotion sites. Joyous spirits dressed for a miracle celebration can be found in the portal with Spectrum and lace decorated ex-votos.

 

For Doitschinoff, among the various religious manifestations which characterize the search for a direct communication between the individual and the divine, the ex-voto is still near to pagan rituals. In the multi religious altar universe, religious elements mix themselves with shamanic and artistic ones, invoking ritualistic manifestation of primitive freedom.

 

Text by Sabrina Leal

 

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