Monday, November 24, 2008

My god can beat up your god.

Religion and war; two ideas that are weirdly related. I’ve personally contemplated the relationship in my own attempts at art. And history proves the two just can’t get over each other.

At the de Young, I encountered an artist I’d never heard of, Al Farrow. He creates mash-ups of religion and violence. Mash-ups so beautiful, you have to look twice to spot the aggression.

Farrow uses the detritus of war to create art. Bullets, guns, and other weaponry are his medium. I’m not talking about representations of these items—he uses the real stuff. He architects these materials into sculptures that are pure religion. Take The Spine and Tooth of Santo Guerro (see inset photo). This work is a stunning cathedral crafted from weaponry. It’s amazing how much a machine gun can mimic the flying buttresses of a Baroque cathedral.

Farrow doesn’t just pick on the Christians. He also takes on mosques and synagogues. It seems that no matter who’s your god, he or she wants you to blow up the sinners.

The art of war takes on a whole new meaning. In the Name of God: War, Religion, and the Reliquaries of Al Farrow is on display through February 15, 2009.

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