Thursday, February 17, 2011
art, theology, marxism, atheism, the mix!
One of the blogs I read regularly is entitled 'Never mind the bricolage' and is written by someone who calls himself 'Superflat'. There was a point when I had an actual name, but I can't just track it down on the blog at present. He works with students doing courses in which he discusses art and theology, (at least these topics come up regularly in his blog), and in his latest post, Criticism of Heaven he begins by writing the following...
In the Art, Cinema and Theology class we have been exploring the role of women in the arts and particularly women painters and their general absence from Western Art History. We found our way to a discussion about Frida Kahlo, inspired by the movie about her starring Selma Hayek and directed by Julie Taymor.
I think that there are rich conversations to be had around her life and work, but a question came up during class about how to 'do theology with someone who is a communist and an atheist'--points that I actually think are favourable for a conversation, but somehow seemed to be a stumbling block to at least one person. I guess it all depends on how one understands what theological discourse might be--for me it encompasses at least some aspect of bringing things (anything) into dialogue and conversation. While I part company with the conclusions of the Radical Orthodoxy mob, I do like Graham Ward's idea that doing theology somehow means 'reclaiming the world'--bringing all the things once ceded to the wider culture back into contact and conversation with sacred communities and with theology. So for me Frida Kahlo offers up some major theological potentials: sexuality and gender; socialism/Marxism, theism/a-theism, pain and brokenness just to name a few.
I like that idea of 'reclaiming the world' in relation to art/theology -it resonates with a number of different writers on art and theology I've read.
Superflat has a little more to say....here.
[Bricolage is a term used in several disciplines, among them the visual arts, to refer to the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available, or a work created by such a process. The term is borrowed from the French word bricolage, from the verb bricoler, the core meaning in French being, "fiddle, tinker" and, by extension, "to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are at hand (regardless of their original purpose)". In contemporary French the word is the equivalent of the English do it yourself, and is seen on large shed retail outlets throughout France. A person who engages in bricolage is a bricoleur. Thanks, Wikipedia!]