Imaging Lazarus: The Undead in Contemporary Painting
I want to avoid the obvious discussion of painting being dead. It’s not. Rather, painting has been killed several times and has been brought back to life by a certain kind of belief, or faith in it. This faith sustains painting as a practice, but recently there has been a kind of representation of the body, the “undead” body in painting that I think has a lot to do with the history of painting, but an attempt to re-inscribe the art in general and body specifically as a site of political agency.
It bears an investigation of the story of Lazarus to get a sense of what I am talking about here. The tale is found in the Gospel of John. Many people focus on Jesus’s act of raising Lazarus from the dead (he had been entombed for four days) as a pre-figuring of his own resurrection. It is that, no question. But there are other elements of the story that I think are often overlooked.
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