“God is dead” has been a modern man’s mantra for last century. He blasted temples off, shot Buddhas, burnt priests to convince himself. He searched for reason, appealed for common sense, and applied logic. He endeavored to dissect his soul and scrap away the faith - his faith. He never succeed, though. However, this theotomy became a severe trauma of humankind in the 20th century. The unbearable pain of that experience compels a man to neglect it; like phantom limb pain, it is still chasing him when the weather changes.

In the 20th century, religious artifacts frequently became victims of fanatic vandalism. Beheaded sculptures, exploded churches, and even destroyed twin towers of World Trade Center are all examples of theotomy — a process of relinquishing personal believes through demolishing objects embodying them. When the faith is being ablated, the soul is bleeding.

This multi-media performance is an attempt to reconstruct an experience of theotomy without bloody consequences. During the performance, Olga Merekina is sitting in a meditating posture and ‘cutting’ her body with brush and shadow, while several slow-motion footages of collapsing artifacts are projected on different surfaces around the sitter. The visual image is supported by Lena Kilina declaiming a lecture of Anatoly Lunacharsky on religion and public education.

The multimedia performance in 0 Art Center, M50 Art district, Shanghai 2018

Half an hour of meditation and deep reflection about religious and cultural traumas when the gallery turns to the sacred place.

by Olga Merekina and Lena Kilina
sound by Adam Sinykin
video and light design by Vasily Betin

Photo: Alina Kochetova