Wednesday, October 13, 2010

P is for posture: dictionary of everyday contemporary spirituality

A recent visit to the Tate Modern saw me parked in front of the art of German photographer Thomas Struth. It was his Museum series, in which he takes seemingly ordinary shots of people entering churches, museums and other public places. (So this is my photo of his photo. The people are in the photo!)

I loved the layers; me looking at others who are looking.

I was fascinated by the wee girl looking in. You almost think she’s wanting to climb in and be with Jesus, until you realise she’s just a viewer. Like me. So how do I position myself in relation to the way of Jesus and his table manners? Am I climbing in?

And then those who look away. They seem to be passing by. You wonder how closely they looked. And you begin to wonder if viewing is a discipline and a practice. That how we position ourselves is a decision.

When I look at the work of Thomas Struth, I think about posture. (In this sense, very similar to the works by another German, Sieger Koder, whom I have written about in another context (summary here)). How do we place ourselves in relation to the world around us and the story of Jesus? Are we walking on by, bored and busy? Or are we taking the time to pause and enter?

For the index in the Dictionary of Everyday spirituality, go here.

Posted by steve at 09:03 AM

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