‘If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him,’ Voltaire stated. This premise, as expressed in what is possibly one of the most famous lines in the history of philosophy, perfectly summarizes the paradoxical relationship Western societies have had to the idea of faith or belief in the existence of a divine being since the days of the Enlightenment. While most of us seem to believe that there is no such thing as God, and have by and large accepted the rather bleak fact that there is ultimately no meaning to our existence, many of us are (secretly) still searching for a higher power to provide an explanation for the mystery, marvel and misery of the world around us. This desire to conceive of a force capable of providing some guidance and direction for the life we live remains firmly engrained no matter how little belief in God persists.
In the sphere of visual art, Belgian artist Kris Martin provides one of the most striking explorations of this dilemma of faith. Martin is a believer, it would seem, and his work clearly challenges the generally accepted assessment of our life as stripped of meaning, without any enduring substance. Most of his practice circles (in one way or another) around the subjects of life and death, and the ephemerality and fragility of our existence. While it seems that a large number of contemporary artists tackle issues of such significance, it is in fact rather unusual to come across one whose work and artistic motifs are so clearly related to considering these fundamental questions, and whose own position is firmly rooted in a belief in Christian values and the existence of God.
more from Frieze here.