Station 6: Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face
Artist, Gordon Monro
Veronica: Contact of Worldliness
Mathematical construction kit, looped video on wall mounted TV
I found this very difficult. I am not a Christian, but a greater obstacle was that I am an abstract artist, and much of my work has been geometric abstraction. When I said I would be involved in the project I thoughtI could probably do something with quite a few of the Stations, but they were assigned to artists at random, and I was given Station 6:Veronica. I don't have an artistic language appropriate for this subject, and it would take many years to develop one.
Veronica does not occur in the Bible, so the theologically carefully crafted accounts of the Gospels do not help. Her legend appears in the 4th century AD, and the name is later still. Part of the story is that Veronica took off her veil and mopped Jesus' face with it, a brave act. I did not pursue the aspect of the legend that the veil then became miraculously imprinted with the "true image" of Jesus's face.
I found that there are abstract versions of the Stations of the Cross, notably Barnett Newman's series from the 1960s. However, this treats all the Stations as whole, and was not a useful model for me. (interestingly, Newman was Jewish.)
I went through a number of ideas, including trying to work with light, or light, in some way. At some point I thought of timelines, giving a point of view sub specie eternitatis, a God's-eye view encompassing past, present and future all in one.
Then there came the question as to how to realise the idea. I thought at first of a two-dimensional image with curving lines, and then of a three-dimensional version (something I have no experience with, and no relevant skills). I wondered about 3D printing, but I realised that it would be impracticable, so then I thought about using some sort of construction kit. By chance I came across the Zometool kit (actually as an example of good product design), and experimented with it. There were quite a few constraints, but I found I could use it.
The Star of David at the base of the construction came about because I attended a performance of a Passion using the words of the Gospel of John, which sets "the Jews" against Jesus. But Jesus was a Jew.