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Vatican Joining in the 55th Venice Biennale: Beginning of a New Interaction between Contemporary Art and the Catholic Church?

Jea-Won Kim 1

1인천가톨릭대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In 2012, the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Vatican City officially declared its first ever participation in the 55th Venice Biennale. It was very significant that the Vatican independently took part in the exhibition of the de facto contemporary fine arts. This reformative action of the Vatican was originated from the spirits of the 2. Vatican Council. The Vatican pavilion showed the three separate spaces that each signify three sub-themes; creation-uncreation-recreation. The three sub-themes were expressed by three variations to interpret a overhead theme represented in the Genesis Book 1 to 11 of the Old Testament. The preparatory committee commissioned the media art group “Studio Azzuro”, photo-artist “Josef Koudelka”, and installation artist “Lawrence Carroll” to work for the exhibition. Now the Vatican have to confront the Anti-Christian art which are maybe easily seen in modern and contemporary arts. Does the Vatican only want to enhance the cultural interactions with the public like all other contemporary arts strive for? Or does the Vatican only try to dictate the theological Catholic dogma to the public through modern visual languages in outside of Church? As the Vatican continues to emphasize, the former case would magnify the dynamism and varieties of the Biennale and extend the public’s understanding for the Catholic Church. But if the case were the latter, positive consequences would not be expected. The latter case could not sincerely mean a true reformation or change of the Church, but only a highly manipulated modification of approaching methods.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.