Orthodoxy and the Visual Arts Group
George Kordis (Athens, Greece)
George Kordis was Professor of Iconography (Theory and Practice) at Athens University School of Theology from 2003 to 2013. He studied analytically the structure of Byzantine painting system and its theological significance. He wrote many books and articles on that subject. He is an active iconographer and artist painter, beautifying churches all around the world with icons, and exhibiting his iconographic and secular work in galleries and museums.
Todor Mitrovic, Academy of Serbian Orthodox Church for Fine Arts and Conservation (Belgrade, Serbia)
Todor Mitrović is professor of Icon Painting at the Academy of SOC for Fine Arts and Conservation, currently in the administrative role of Vice-Dean. He has exhibited art works at numerous group and twelve solo exhibitions, in Serbia, throughout Europe, and in the USA. Having experienced diverse modes of artistic expression (portrait, abstract painting and icon painting), he tries to make a bridge between church and contemporary art in his icons. Throughout his postgraduate research, he exhibited and promoted icons as an academically recognized development of the contemporary artistic scene in Serbia (especially in his doctoral project, entitled Icon – Between the Imprint, the Picture and the Word). Actively researching church art from the theoretical perspective, he has published numerous papers and one book (Fundamentals of Icon Painting, Belgrade, 2012), which was translated to two European languages.
Mihai Coman, Bucharest University (Bucharest, Romania)
Mr. Philip Davydov, Institute of Theology and Sacred Arts (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Todor Enchev, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo (Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria)
Iconography for the Church is not simply an art issue. It is the visual manifestation of the Incarnation and declares in visual terms that the Logos took into His Hypostasis the entire human nature and saved it.
The art of iconography, especially after iconoclasm, attempted to find the proper artistic mode for presenting icons of Christ, of the saints, and of the holy events of the divine economy.
Although what we call today Byzantine painting primarily prevailed and is almost “consecrated,” it was never defined by the Church as the only and unique artistic language for presenting the icons. The Church thus avoided defining a sacred language.
The lack of a consecrated sacred language gave iconography the capacity for a very dynamic development through centuries, adopting new elements from different artistic traditions. The art of the icons through this dialogues was always old and new, thus expressing the need for a living visual expression of the Church in every era.
The main problem the art of iconography confronts today is related to the “traditionalistic” interpretation of tradition, which leads to a static repetition of old icons and lack of creativity.
The IOTA Orthodoxy and the Visual Arts Group is intended to initiate a dialogue in order for the art of iconography to be returned to its natural creativity and functionality in the Church body.
In order for this to be achieved iconographers, secular artists, philosophers, and specialized theologians will be invited to participate in a dialogue, through:
- Through group exhibitions a real dialogue can be revealed and new proposals can be submitted so that the Church body can experience the potential dynamics of contemporary iconography.
- This is the perfect way for iconographers from different local traditions to interact with each other, exchange artistic ideas, and become aware of new trends.
- Iconographers and artists can be invited to submit ideas for a new understanding of the visual tradition of the Church. Main themes which could be discussed are the following:
- The role of the artistic element in icons; truth and convention in iconography.
- Is every artistic language a proper vehicle for rendering the icon of Christ and every other icon? Can the characteristics of the proper iconographic language be defined?
- What was the practice embraced by the Church body in the past for adopting stylistic elements from different artistic traditions?
- The art of iconography and mission: How is it possible for local artistic languages to be used in mission?
- Art of the icons and contemporary artistic trends: Is a dialogue possible and legitimate?
The IOTA Orthodoxy and the Visual Arts Group encourages iconographers to submit new artistic proposals and theoreticians to submit individual papers on the aforementioned themes.