Ph. Priscilla Benedetti
Is there chocolate inside? is a 138cm x 112cm chromed frame enclosed by a Plexiglas screen, containing a series of 18 Ritter Sport Minimeter tube-packs in the center of which is placed a Russian icon depicting the Christ Pantocrator, Multicolored LED lights illuminate the inside, giving the work a supernatural aura. It is a reinterpretation of the “Edicola Sacra” (Sacred Shrine), whose internal elements symbolize the union of the incarnated Logos of the Cosmos (Christ Pantocrator) with human desire (chocolate). The artist thus addresses the concept of faith by asking the spectator the provocative question of the title.
This work is the first of twoenty re-interpretations (1/20) of the “Edicola Sacra” (Holy Shrine), an element very much present in Rome. These sacred niches, also called “Madonnelle”, are an expression of popular faith, naive but sincere, are realized as a result of some miraculous event, a foiled disaster, a ceased epidemic, an eventual recovery, others as an expression of faith of a client. The shrine often stands at the intersections of the streets to give light when there was no public lighting because the flame that burned perennially was fed by the devotees of that image.
Is There Chocolate Inside? revolves around the concept of faith. If you believe there is chocolate, let it be. If you don’t believe there is, well, there isn’t. In the centre of my “edicola” I mounted an icon of the Christ Pantocrator, I have an Ukrainian artisan made by using the traditional technique.
The Chris Pantocrator (Χριστός Παντοκράτωρ; from the Greek pan [all] and kràtein [to dominate strongly, to have in hand]) is a depiction of Jesus typical of the Byzantine art and in general Paleochristian and also medieval art, especially present in mosaics and apse frescoes.
Christ in the fifth century was considered the organizing principle of the Cosmos, generated and not created by the Father God, the key to understanding reality and the answer to the mystery of existence.
The human desire for order had found its fulfillment in Jesus, the incarnated Logos, the Reason and the Structure of the cosmos. The intellectual and spiritual implications of this meaning of Cosmic Christ are still felt today.
The eminent philosopher Alfred North Whitehead has even advanced the idea that the scientific vision of the world, now so deeply impressed in Western consciousness, has its roots in the theology of fifth-century Christians.
In my vision, the union of the Ritter Sport Minimeter – resembling the industrial achievement, the mathematical order of Cosmos, and also symbolizing human desire (chocolate) – with such sacred item as the Russian Icon of the Christ Pantocrator creates an apparent contrast ultimately reveling its coherence through many levels.
Ideally the artwork brings together Center-South-Eastern Europe cultures, while the RGB led strip lighting evokes Chinese folklore and the globalisation low price products.