Gert Jan Kocken: Defacing

From September 16 to November 11, Gert Jan Kocken's photographs of the traces of Reformation iconoclasm are on view at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. Kocken's life-size and hyper-detailed pictures show "defaced" Medieval art from Holland, England, Germany and Switzerland as as the sum of markings and erasures, of construction and de(con)struction—at times suggesting anachronistic connections between Reformation iconoclasm and that of modern art. Indicative of the show's status as part of Kocken's wider project on historical turning-points, it also includes a picture of a microfilm showing the New York Times front-page of September 11, 2001. For some time Gert Jan Kocken and I had been discussing the possibility of me writing a text about these works of his, and when Jelle Bouhuis agreed to show the photographs at SMBA, their newsletter offered itself as the logical medium for this essay, which is also part of the preparations for my upcoming book on contemporary art and the resurgence of monotheistic attacks on "idolatrous" images.

The newsletter can be downloaded here: