ARTS: CHRIST ON A PEDESTAL

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
MARK WALLINGER'S life-size, hairless statue of Jesus, Ecce Homo, as probably everyone knows, went up on the vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square last week. It is avowedly a talking point, and has perhaps already been talked out. I admit I haven't followed the conversation very attentively. But I'm going to have my say anyway. To wit: the thoughts that Ecce Homo seems most likely to provoke are complete cliches:

1) Up on that big plinth, it looks very small, human and vulnerable, a refreshing contrast to the pompous statues around. Refreshing? Come now, who isn't in favour of vulnerability and against grandiosity?

2) It emphasises Jesus the ordinary man. Haven't weheard this somewhere before? From countless clergymen and every actor who has played him. He's a man, just a man (and I've had so many men before / in very many ways / he's just one more).

3) It emphasises Jesus the political prisoner. Likewise. One of the ways vicars try to make Christianity interesting to teenagers is to say that Jesus was a political prisoner.

Ecce Homo has already been welcomed by at least two Anglican bishops. QED. It seems to me, if you want to get people going, quite the opposite tack was needed: an absolutely enormous statue of Christ returning in glory to judge the quick and the dead. But perhaps this isn't really necessary because if you want to know what it looks like, I understand it's due to happen at the end of the year.

Tom Lubbock

Comments