Crusader


In this sculpture with its easily identifiable symbolical undercurrents, the artist purposefully avoided introducing any recognizable signs of natural corporality. His goal was to avoid excessive specificity: free of specifics, the title of “Crusader” calls up more liberal associations than the usual notion of the knights of the Cross, the warriors participating in the military campaigns to recapture the Holy Land. As is well known, any intention, even a very benevolent one, can turn into its opposite and start to be used for malicious ends. This explains why the mantle with the hood is empty – its filling depends on a chosen form of worship of the Cross in whose shadow the mantle stands. The mantle’s pyramidal shape seems to be addressing the eternal values (the symbol of the mountain, the centre of the world) but the frighteningly gaping holes (where the body and face should be) subvert the image of ideal universal harmony. The harsh ceramic surface of the mantle reinforces such a feeling of anxiety. Towering over the cone of the empty mantle, the brutal-looking cross made of two iron bars placed crosswise to each other inspires awe with its primitive indeterminateness. The asceticism of the sculptural forms and the leanness of the visual language bring the image close to textual semantics.

Brief annotations to the image

CRUSADERS were members of a religious order of knighthood who participated in the Crusades in the 11th-13th centuries. The name originated from their garb, which invariably featured an embroidered cross – the symbol of the vow they took to participate in the military campaigns in the Middle East to recapture the Holy Sepulchre and the Holy Land from the Muslims. An upshot of the Crusades was the founding of several states which existed until the late 13th century and the capture of Constantinople – the ancient hub of Christian faith – in 1204. In later times, the ideal of the Cross was taken up by a variety of institutions and groups, including very controversial ones, from the Holy Inquisition to the racist and terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).