Saturday, September 14 • 4:46pm - 6:30pm
“The visible and invisible in iconic experience: Rethinking the Marionian iconicity through Stephen Antonako’s sacred spaces”

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My paper discuses the different modes of seeing the physical world, which shape our cognitive, emotional and spiritual practices. Particularly, I take a phenomenological approach in analyzing works of art to understand how seeing objects and places in linear perspective influences our behavior in socially/aesthetically-constructed environments. 

Considering that the act of seeing in contemporary visual culture is increasingly experienced through televisual/digital screens, we might be incited to reflect upon the nature of our own relationship to images. For the French Catholic theologian Jean-Luc Marion, today’s proliferation of technological images replaces reality, as the original source of visual representation, with an antiworld—a virtual space of idolic images that have effaced the real to act as a mirror in reflecting humans’ desires. 

Marion’s solution to ‘the contemporary disaster of the image’ is to reconsider religious icons as a type of representation that erases its visibility in order for the invisible to intersect with the visible. By comparing Marion’s theological approach of image to the work of the contemporary artist Stephen Antonakos, we can reflect on the theoretical, spiritual, and physical aspects of idolic and iconic images. I particularly focus on how Antonakos interprets the Orthodox icon, Saints Peter and Paul Holding the Church (c.1600), to highlight the power of iconic images in overcoming the postmodern spectacle of idols that obliterates the real. 

In using Marion’s concepts of icon and idol, this paper brings a new interpretive approach to artworks (and image in general) as creating sacred spaces to disrupt the dominance of the antiworld over human perception of reality. 


Adrian Gorea

Concordia University, Canada

Saturday September 14, 2013 4:46pm - 6:30pm EDT
Rowe Atrium

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