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Jesus. God who became human. The central figure of Christianity. For the majority of christians the essence of Jesus is as the son of God and his existence is consubstantial to the Father. ¥€$U$ is the latest photo series by Paweł Jaszczuk. Its leitmotif is the representation of Christ in contemporary pop-culture.

Jesus and ¥€$U$. What is the difference here? The simple answer is: everything. Nowadays, Jesus is more a symbolic religious figure than he is a real person. From a cultural point of view he might be considered as a metaphorical figure – the personification of all virtues, the master figure. ¥ € $ U $ is an aberration of a religious order.

Paweł Jaszczuk has spent almost a decade of his life abroad, sharing this time between Australia and Japan. He came back to Poland in 2012. The contrast and a contradiction of Christ from the New Testament and his pop-culture representation perfectly reflects the author's shock upon returning to his homeland, where he again encountered "folk religiosity". An accidentally found pocket knife in a shape of a cross became an inspiration for further investigation. The result is a whole photo-series. Their ambiguity is perfectly expressed by the title - ¥ € $ U $ - in which spirituality is mixed with commerce.

The combination of religious symbols with objects of everyday use exposes the ridiculousness and absurdity of the material superstructure of the modern Christian rite. Despite the long tradition of critique of "indulgence culture" and "worship of relics" – they remain vital. But contemporary commercialism goes deeper than it used to. On the margins of the official ecclesiastical order there is still space for mass production of grotesque objects of absurd destiny. Pendants with Jesus crucified, chocolates and panties with the Virgin Mary, Christ with the Lamb as a bathing float… Those and much more, create inside the series of Paweł Jaszczuk a grotesque landscape of situations, where sacrum is mixed with profanum. The surrealistic marriage of both values reveals the fascination of faith based on images. This poses the still relevant question of the meaning of "sacred images" in the days of aggressive capitalism: is it possible that this is religion’s way of staying up-to-date?


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