Sacred Art Between Tradition and Personal Expression
The Orthodox Icon and Artistical Transgressions of the Canon
The aim of this article is to present a personal reflection regarding the theoretical/philosophical relation between the generally accepted theological grounding of icon painting and other contemporary artistical endeavours to integrate the religious feeling – of Christian-Orthodox inspiration. This reflection is based on a mixture of ideas from different thought-frameworks which have as common ground the need for speculating on issues such as ‘tradition understanding’, ‘personal expression’, ‘art and religiousness’, exactly those key-themes that are constituting the fundamental threads of my argumentation. Hence, my appeal to authors like Lucian Blaga, Leonid Uspensky, Martin Heidegger, Paul Evdochimov, and Christos Yannaras. The point of departure for my study is the powerful and unavoidable conflict between the need for personal artistic interpretations of religious themes – expressed through contemporary artistic techniques and the application of contemporary metaphysical modelings – and the need for attaching oneself to an ‘authentic’ tradition of religious experience and to a community with deep roots in history. My all-round thesis is that this conflict cannot be, at least, clarified by choosing, from the artistic point of view, between two extremes: contemporary secular art on the one hand, and sacred, canonical art on the other hand, but by finding conceptual common pathways.
Keywords: tradition; face-image; person; contemporary art; transgression; music; body; dance.