Jason Dy, SJ: Forty

40-day Durational and Autobiographical Documentation/Performative Art Project 

As the Lenten observance commenced with Ash Wednesday, whereby the Christian faithful queue to be imposed with ashes and are reminded of their mortality and frailty as well as the paschal mystery and divine mercy, Jason Dy, SJ, in his new art initiative entitled Forty, continues his interest art and religion interface. In his attempt in exploring their common ground, Dy engages the Christian traditions with various communities in his creative practice as an artist and employs site-specific art collaborations in his pastoral ministry as a priest.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, forty is the number of days of Dy’s exploration into a more solitary pilgrimage of Lent. This durational and autobiographical documentation/perfomative art initiative, though created within the confines on the pages of a square sketchbook, is not a deviation of the artist’s usual way of informing his art practice through collaborative art in public spaces. It is more of a subtle performance of the everyday engagement with people, events, places and objects with his intent of searching for the sublime, either in its grand and/or terrible manifestations, in Rudolf Otto’s sense of mysteriumtremendum, in the mundane. But is this possible?

unnamedNot for sure, but Dy insists that at the end of the day, distilling residuals of these encounters (whatever form they may take e.g. a prayer, an insight, a found object, a feeling, an aura, a dialogue, etc.) are documented in mixed media drawings regarded as daily journal entries. For him, these entries attempt to document the steps/missteps of the pilgrim on the road as he pays close attention to the inner stirrings of his person triggered by the ineffable presence (or its nonpresence). As a religious, it is a spiritual journey into the desert with his God. It is one of seeking the “wounded beauty that saves” as Fyodor Dosteovsky suggests in The Idiot.

These documents and processes may beDy’s “itinerary more than a map” (Miwon Kwon, 2002, 29) as henavigates into the road to Calvary, cross and an empty tomb. It could also be a sort of anticipation of the dawn of Easter Sunday.

Some of the images may be posted on-line in Dy’s social network but most of it will be mainly bounded on the pages of the sketchbook kept in private (but awaiting for an opportune time for public display).


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