In the past, it was accustomed to keep icons at homes. It would spiritually connect the real world with the heavenly one. A traditional icon was viewed as a portal through which holy spirits would come down to us from their holy place. Thus, an icon becomes a link between heaven and earth.

Traditionally, icons depict saints and scenes from their lives. People believed that, through icons, one could establish a connection with the saints, ask for help, talk to them to share their thoughts and fears. Nowadays, the web space that we inhabit through smart phones, tablets, TV or computer screens has become a way of communicating and expressing our thoughts, desires and fears. Often, a church of today is either a chosen news channel or a social media network. Everyone can become a preacher, an opinion leader, and a newsmaker. Everyone can get their fifteen minutes of fame, as predicted by Andy Warhol.

The saints of today are often some well known humans – musicians, actors, tech moguls. Through gadget screens, they influence and guide the population. Those screens have become the connectors between people and their saints. I feel like the medieval times, with its cults, have returned. The cult followers are often harebrained and uninformed. Remarkably, there are no guidelines or specific criteria for one to become a new idol. The place of saints is taken over by popular people – celebrities are ranked up as saints. They have become modern icons – icons of popular culture, of popular opinions, of success.

Three glass collages in this series resemble traditional orthodox icons. The collages are made in the stained glass technique and show a collective image of modern idols – images of those people who are worshiped now. Three mixed media collages are an allusion to icons and dedicated to the obsessed fanatic believers who actively promote their beliefs to the world and try to convert absolutely everyone around them to their faith.

The meaning of the assemblage:

From one hand, in churches saints were always depicted closer to heaven, where they were inaccessible. From the other hand, saints are former humans, which meant that any person who’s strictly adhering to the path of their faith could become a saint. It means that anyone could take a place of saint. Thus, in the assemblage, the saints are painted on a human eye level, but, at the same time, they are slightly elevated above the floor. They look accessible. But, apparently, they are not ordinary humans – they are saints, the idols to follow.

Nowadays, people create their own saints and idols, and anyone can potentially occupy this place. It can be a popular instagrammer, a culinary blogger, or just an unremarkable person who managed to attract everyone’s attention. Now, a concept of holiness and worshipping is twisted up. With no guidelines, it shows that, in fact, everyone can take on a role of a saint. To show that everyone can put themselves in the place of a saint, the figures in the paintings are ambiguous. This purpose is also supported by two free standing figures, with which visitors can take a picture by substituting saints’ faces with their own, thus playing a saint. There are such saints among us. Anyone can become one. Just do it.

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