Can censorship be reinterpreted in terms of artistic practices? Does this phenomenon have a form-building potential?
Sanitizing the passages from the “Illintsy” religious sect’s tract using the hand-crafted wooden stylus and black ink, Bogdan Bunchak asks: can one, while practicing censorship, create (new) meanings, and not destroy them? Affirming the former, the artist invites the viewer to consider a number of highly sensitive problems. Labeling a certain belief as heretical is clearly an institutional and political act. Carrying out such a labeling, in particular, during ecumenical councils, the church fathers simultaneously recognized the heresies significance for strengthening the theoretical grounds of the church, since the church had to build up an apologetic counter-argument to attack the emerging “false doctrines”. Speaking in contemporary lingo, heresy was like a virus, against which the infected organism produces antibodies, cures itself and becomes stronger.
These theological developments took the form of polemic treatises with titles symptomatically containing the word “against”: “Against Eunomius”, “Against Arians”, “Against Nestorians” etc. But if the continuous emergence of new heresies was perceived by the church fathers as one of the proofs of the singular truth existence, the opposite holds true as well: in a paradoxical way these texts registered the very existence of heretical groups and documented their theological agenda.
And in a sense, warmed up the interest to them.