The Cathedral in Contemporary Art: the connection of tradition and technology in the cases of Gerhard Richter and Marko Blažo
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The Cathedral in Contemporary Art: the connection of tradition and technology in the cases of Gerhard Richter and Marko Blažo

Abstract

The medieval cathedral is a relatively common theme in art, and the fascination that these buildings evoked among artists even soon after they first appeared can be traced through history. Nonetheless, artistic attitudes toward medieval architecture have evolved over time and by the late 20th century, interest in depictions of Christian places of worship had waned almost entirely. By the end of the century, however, spirituality was rediscovered as a subject of art and the theme was addressed in several important works of art in subsequent years. Some of these works attempted to foster a dialogue between history and the field of digital technology, and this study will examine examples of this approach with examples from two artists. The first of these is the world-renowned German artist Gerhard Richter’s design for the window of the south transept of Cologne Cathedral. Richter used a random number generator in the preparation of his design to express the understanding of God as the cosmic principle of the infinite, of an abstract and inconceivable order. The second artist is Marko Blažo, part of the generation which appeared on the Slovak art scene in the mid-1990s. His images of the cathedral are created from the repeated manipulation of original photos using a photocopier which are then further distorted by being expanded and reduced using a computer. Through this process and its subsequent reworking, the cathedral is shifted into a new visual level of the interpretative and multi-layered desanctification of the subject. The aim of this study is to offer a detailed analysis of these two approaches, examining the media character of the two works and thereby interpreting the attitude of the two artists to the specific object of the medieval church.

 

Key words

Cathedral. Contemporary art. Gerhard Richter. Marko Blažo. Technology.

 

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KOBETIČ, A.: The Cathedral in Contemporary Art: the connection of tradition and technology in the cases of Gerhard Richter and Marko Blažo. In European Journal of Media, Art and Photography, 2022, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 86-97, ISSN 1339-4940.

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