THE RESURRECTION | THE LIGHT HAS NO SOURCE BUT ITSELF
No artistic representation of the Resurrection will ever display the depth and vastness of this central mystery of the faith. As it is impossible to reproduce an illusion of the visible reality of the resurrection, many artists have turned towards an abstract portrayal of Jesus’ victory. Some have argued that the freedom found in abstract art allows them to more fully display the message of the resurrection.
Josef Žáček’s hangs in the Gallery of Modern Art in Roudnice in the Czech Republic. This 1988 picture is from his “Period of Light”, which was influenced by Žáček’s own spiritual journey and the embryonic rumblings of the ‘Velvet Revolution’ amongst the intellectuals of communist Czechoslovakia.
The first thing one notices about the piece is that the light has no source but itself. The light is not like natural light but has a fluid-like otherworldly appearance, yet it easily and naturally integrates itself with it surroundings. The light radiates into the darkness, a beacon of hope and illumination, The central rectangle of light is surrounded by the shadow of cross, a reminder of the unity of the paschal mystery. Christ’s death and resurrection cannot be separated and it is only through entering into both that we can share in His new life. Through the framing of the cross, a door is created: on one level referencing the empty tomb, but on another level enticing and calling the observer to enter through the portal into risen life with Christ.
Commentary by Mark Davoren