Secular Devotion



This notion came to our mind when pairing Koen van den Broek, Apostolos Georgiou and Marlene Dumas.

Is devotion an inherently religious activity? Can someone express such dedication ungoverned by religious doctrines? Can religious cultural objects be appreciated in terms outside the world-view that created them, redefined in secular, popular or even commercial terms? Religion, by its close relation to most of western art history, has created an intricate visual language that is still prolonged into various means of visual communication, from contemporary art to cinema and advertising. It can still connote saintliness, purity and martyrdom into any context and still lure the viewer into “idolatry”. After all, the worship of images may have to do with the underlying messages pictures always contained: not only that of the Madonna being a woman, but also of the beauty of the blue and red of the angels and that of the tension between colours.

Georgiou makes a painting of a painting, as a multiple act of belief to the purposefulness of art. Van den Broek departs from the famous Madonna (1452) by Jean Fouquet. As in Dumas’ colourless and troubling Sacrifice a female subject resonates in what becomes a painterly conversion of someone else’s lens-based image.

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