John B. Mors

"Reliquaire Series."

My reliquary sculptures are based on religious reliquaries. As churches became larger, religious objects were enclosed in larger forms to make them visible to the congregation. A reliquary is a relic of a saint ( or Christ ) enclosed in, typically, a portrait bust of that person. Because of this enclosure ( often total ), the act of faith is transferred from the relic to the reliquary.

The concept of a reliquary has been modified by reference to the African concept of levels of knowledge. The concept of levels of knowledge states simply that the meaning of an object is not immediately apparent but is revealed as one becomes initiated into the society. This concept is applied in hiding the figure and facing the enclosure away from the viewer. Thus the viewer is not initially aware of the presence of the figure, but must seek it out. There is also an inversion, in that the representation is actually contained within the "relic" or non-representational object.

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