Christian Jankowski, still from The Holy Artwork, 2001. Video projection, color, sound; 16:30 minutes. Edition no. 3/5. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee and Bert A. Lies 2002.293
NARRATOR: Artist Christian Jankowski was born in Germany. His piece, called The Holy Artwork, was filmed in a Baptist church in San Antonio, Texas. The artist created it with the full participation and collaboration of a televangelist preacher named Pastor Peter Spencer. The video is simultaneously a work of art and a sermon. At the beginning of it, Jankowski is mysteriously struck down as he approaches Pastor Spencer’s podium. Without skipping a beat, the Pastor continues his sermon—drawing parallels between art and biblical creation. Likening an artist’s creativity to god’s work creating the world.
CHRISTIANJANKOWSKI: I was already thinking a long time about a piece between religion and art. But when I came to Texas and I just switched on the television, I found like, I don’t know five or, even, on Sunday, sometimes even like ten channels who were all this Christian video thing. So I thought this is the right place to do something like that.
Of course I was very attracted by that, seeing it. I mean, I think if you live in Texas, it’s too normal. I think it was also very good that I come from the outside, like an alien, landing into this Christian world. It gave me a lot of possibilities, which you might not have if you were too much involved.