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Grids: A Kraussian Perspective on New Windows for the Church

In: Religion and the Arts
Author:
Jonathan Koestlé-Cate Goldsmith’s College, University of London

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Rosalind Krauss’s landmark essay of 1979 on the grid form in art characterized the grid in equivocal terms as centrifugal and centripetal, as structure and framework, and most significantly for this discussion, as a vehicle for the conjunction of art and spirit. The grid provided artists with a means to surreptitiously reintroduce the spiritual into an art form that appeared, on the surface, to be wholly material. Taking her essay as its basis, this article looks at the work of two contemporary artists known for their adoption of the grid as a guiding motif. In recent years James Hugonin and Gerhard Richter have each produced a stained-glass window for the church using a grid system, here discussed in the terms set out in Krauss’s foundational text. Writing on the grid, it is said, has produced “reams and reams of artspeak” yet little in the way of sustained reflection on this visual tendency in art for the church. This article seeks to redress this oversight with reference to two particularly striking examples.

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