Richard Lewer – There is light and dark in us all

Installation View: Richard Lewer, There is light and dark in us all, 2018, 97 ceramic crucifixes, dimensions variable (approximately 250 x 550 cm)

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RICHARD LEWER
There is light and dark in us all
Melbourne Art Fair: 2 August – 5 August 2018

Throughout human history, those in positions of power have used torture and brutality as a means to control. Death by crucifixion was slow and excruciatingly painful. Importantly, it was used to humiliate, and as a form of deterrence. Like death by stoning, burning, and lynching, crucifixions were public events, with victims often left out on display as a warning. Today, we routinely see governments orchestrate barbaric border protection policies, and carry out human rights abuses. Whether separating parents and children at the Mexican border, or imprisoning refugees on Manus Island and Nauru in detention centres with no date of release, they are employing the same tools of torture and humiliation. Art history is littered with the crucifix, and, having being raised in a family with faith, the crucifixion was loaded – the cross above the altar, the cross on rosary beads, the Easter ritual of the 14 Stations. The crucifix, to me, is an unmistakeable visual representation of absolute vulnerability, with its twisted human form evidence of extreme physical suffering, whereas for others, it offers a beacon of hope, as with death there is always the opportunity to transcend this life to a better place.