Visual artist Alena Foustková have introduced an exhibition of her assemblages of the Way of the Cross, which she named “15 stations”. In her “15 stations”, Alena Foustková is trying to convey a dialogue between the past and present. She uses the visual language of mundane objects which talk to us through humility and modesty. The artist works conceptually with symbols of the individual Stations. She does not show us a complex storyline but through objects, photographs and words she refers to the canonized scenes in a symbolic way.
Usually, mundane things can thus acquire magical status in a situation when they remind us of the deep-rooted sceneries of the Way of the Cross. Thread-reels, paper pins, a fragment of a mirror or a paper box with disposable paper wipes would seem without the context only meaningless trifles placed under a glass display case. Just like small treasures which we hide as children to shoe-boxes under the bed. The author does not only refer to the past through the objects of our reality. She manages to get inside acute problems of the world and attempts to make the viewer contemplate situations like migration waves or terrorist attacks.
In the eleventh station, which traditionally illustrates the nailing of Jesus Christ to the cross, we find instead printed numbers of victims who died in the terrorist attacks all over the world in one year. Jesus falling under the weight of the cross for the first time is introduced through a photograph of a Syrian father falling with his son during their flight from the war. The photograph which was seen all over the world had, however, a shocking story behind it. A Hungarian reporter tripped the refugee apparently to get more suggestive images of suffering and increase viewership of her story.
To the traditional fourteen stations, the artist added one more, the fifteenth – Resurrection, which becomes a symbol of hope and transformation. Alena Foustkova´s The Way of the Cross is her own reflection on values which we adhere to and existing themes which have always been and will be with us. Themes like belonging, helping others, compassion, but also cruelty, suffering and death. How we stand up to these challenges, it is only up to us.
Read interpretations on each station here.
15 Stations by Alena Foustková
Ambit of the Saint Thomas Monastery (Prague), Opened on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018.
The exhibition will last until the Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.