Contemporary Art / Tim White-Sobieski / Photograph / Last Supper 128,859.02 Ven
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Tim White-Sobieski - “LAST SUPPER“
from the series "Before They Were Beatles", 2003-2004
Cibachrome print face mounted on plexiglas with aluminum back panel
48 x 152 inches (120 x 385 cm). Edition of 10. plus 1 AP
*The Last Supper is on view at the Hub Culture Copenhagen Pavilion, Gammel Torv 14, 1257 Copenhagen and the London Pavilion, 49 Carnaby Street, London.
The first look at this photograph that strikes the viewer is its size; as large as 4 x 12 feet, it is monumental. People find themselves standing back viewing Tim White’s “Last Supper” as though it is a large canvas and then moving close to examine the details. And the endless details become viewpoints for interpretations.
This tangible connection with painting is a relatively new expansion in the history of photography, with the technology allowing to create prints of the size corresponding with the magnitude of the artistic idea. White-Sobieski can deliver photographic images larger than paintings; his work often relates to painting and calls for comparison with Renaissance art.
Of course, by far the most famous “Last Supper” interpretation belongs to Leonardo da Vinci. Other outstanding masterpieces were executed by Tintoretto, Veronese and Ghirlandaio. Among the masters of the modern school of German artists, the “Last Supper” of Gebhardt is regarded as a masterpiece. Like the many artists before him, Tim White-Sobieski pictured the Last Supper in a stage-like setting, constructed by the rules of central perspective. The lines of perspective meet in Christ's figure, which emphasizes his central position both in the actual situation, and in its interpretation. Remarkably, the artist chose a girl to take the heightened seat at the table in place of Christ.
…A young girl and twelve boys in military ammunition represent a shocking version of the biblical subject. The feminine is the oldest religion of the world, one that considers earth and nature as feminine, the origin of life. She is here - and godly - to defeat age and oblivion and to counter destiny of the soldiers too young to have their last meal.
The significance of the age reversal in Tim White’s artistic themes is one of the major components in his “Last Supper”. The artist turned apostles into children to depict dedication, faithfulness and integrity easily given in the beginning of life and difficult to maintain through accumulating years. Like children in the tale of Brothers Grimm - these boys "awoke and were with the savior on Earth, and they were called the twelve apostles"1
There is a solemn symmetry in the whole image of the photograph brought with the repetition of the boys’ faces (in fact, they are only four persons multiplied through the scene), the ascetic arcs behind them and oval breads mixed with hand grenades on the table.
Tim White's current photography and video builds on his earlier works - "Presence", "Confession" and "Sweet Dreams" which all invoke questions of history and memory, both collective and personal. Like a visual rhetorical question, collective responsibility for history is the backdrop against which the "Last Supper" makes its statement. White-Sobieski turns childhood into a fixed point, evading the process of growing up. Let a young girl bear the weight of the consequences of history… How do we feel about this statement when confronted with the depiction of how that weight leaves its war marks on small bodies of symbolic soldiers? These marks are not forced upon us, but they are nonetheless inevitable. Tim White's images seem unreal and yet authentic at the same time and this impossibility makes his work a phenomenon.
1 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Die zwölf Apostel. Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales - Grimms' Fairy Tales), Kinderlegenden (Children's Legends), no. 2. Translated by D. L. Ashliman. © 2002.