Magazine for Art and God
Publisher: BART Magazin, c/o Andreas Widmer, Bütziackerstrasse 48, CH-8406 Winterthur, Switzerland
Dimensions: 21 x 27,9 cm
Battlefield of Sin
The viewer's gaze follows the woman's body image based on the artist's meticulous painterly and photographic self-portrayal: gliding from the light forehead over the face one looks in vain for the gaze of the seated person, which seems to go into emptiness. Her décolleté shimmers vulnerable and white. Her breasts shimmer through the thin light gray and semi-transparent fabric of the outerwear. Following the movement of her arms and hands, the viewer's gaze finally finds support on her deep red and clearly rounded abdomen. It is the womb of a pregnant woman. She frames the developing child with her hands, envelops it like a whole world. Like a sphere that she is holding in her hands, the new life appears within her - dormant, protected and withdrawn from the viewer's reach. The woman, who appears dressed and undressed at the same time in a strangely ambivalent manner, is quite different. She wears deep red pantyhose that draw the eye to her abdomen - to her sharply bent right knee, which glows bright red and as if illuminated by a light. The left leg is turned sideways away from the viewer. Nevertheless, her body remains exposed to the viewer's gaze. The head of the half dressed, half undressed woman is tilted sideways and slightly forward. Her light brown hair is carefully parted and pinned up at the nape of her neck. In the black-brown background and standing behind her bare neck, light shadows and contours of male faces can be seen. You don't recognize them in detail, but you can see that there are several men, maybe five or six of them. And you guess more than you see: beards and raked noses, their looks and the restless presence behind the woman. The Sinner is the title of the picture with which Katerina Belkina won the International Lucas Cranach Prize. In it she refers in a stubborn way to the image of Christ and the woman taken in adultery, which takes up the story in John 8:1-11.
The image comparison makes it clear: Belkina separates the figure of the woman from the crowd and the encounter with Christ and places her in the center of the picture. The piercing looks in her back can only be guessed at. The protective hand of Christ, who holds the woman's right hand in Cranach, now rests on her own body together with his left hand. Cranach's basic statement is exaggerated: Contrary to what Cranach's picture title seems to suggest, sin is not to be discovered on the woman's face at all, but in the devastating looks and deadly gestures that are looming around her: In the Grabbed the stone, citing the law and threatening lunchtime justice. This opens up something of the understanding of sin in the biblical-reformation tradition for the viewer in Belkina's picture: Sin is not recognizable as a specific action or certain reprehensible behavior of the other. but exclusively in view of one's own existence. Sin becomes recognizable where my (own) life has long since been wrested from destructiveness and alienation. "He who is without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her!" (John 8:7b). Grace and acquittal to new life, as they happen to man through God, are at the center of both pictures. But the disturbing radicalism of this statement was brought into the picture in an impressive way by Belkina's The Sinner.