13 November 2020
The Art Research Programme in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths University hosted an interdisciplinary and innovative symposium—Religion & Art—a programme of short presentations from practicing artists, curators, theorists/theologians and graduate researchers from the Centre of Film and Screen Media, University of Essex and Goldsmiths, University of London.
Nina Danino, Stabat Mater (1990)
Assorted 16mm film strips
The connection between art and spiritual or religious practice is as old as humanity itself, and the relationship has often been quite paradoxical. As traditional church patronage fell away, artists either moved onto entirely new pursuits or returned to spiritual practice on new, self-defined terms. Artists from Hilma af Klimpt to Malevich to Agnes Martin have returned to the sacred not only as a subject, but in many cases as a method and form of life. The day hosted the participation of the seminal US feminist performance artist Linda Montano, who will talk about her return to Catholicism in her everyday practice of performance. There is a mutual convergence between art practice and the field of theology. There has also been a more serious consideration of the religious and spiritual activity of the artist. More artists are delving deeply into religion to understand what and why they create. Despite this double convergence, there has been comparatively little dialectical discussion between these fields, this conference sought to be a facilitator of such a discussion.