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Art Explained: Ouch!

J. Antonio FARFAN



pastel and graphite on paper

27 x 21 in. ( 53.3 x 68.6 cm )

Private Collection, Houston, Texas USA

In Ouch!, The Passion of Christ is isolated into the single moment of the crucifixion. In an effort to re-interpret a theme with a powerful and graphic history, the title of the piece and the elements in the composition maintain a direct allusion to the power and importance of cartoons and an less than soft cue to the events of January 7th and Charlie Hedbo, Paris. A red mallet strikes with intense force towards a long nail atop an animated gloved hand. As a way to newly portray the scene it becomes apparent that Christ faces away and not towards the viewer, as evidenced by the position of the hand. The brutal strike of the hammer makes a circular path behind it that contrasts sharply with the circular path on the opposite side. By creating a double rotating motion using contrasting color, life and death are portrayed in a synchronous existence intersecting to create a vesica piscis and thus denoting the resurrection and ultimate triumph of Christ.

The magnitude of violence in this final act of Christ on earth has many parallels. including metaphysical relationships that are at the core of this pastel on paper. The persistence of a mind in remorse, pain, anguish, sadness and guilt perpetuates an existence of self destruction. This story of the crucifixion of Christ goes on to express the power of forgiveness as the hidden antidote for a restoration of the spirit. If Christ represents the body and the executioners the mind we re-incarnate a New Self by completely forgiving and letting go of our past actions.

Throughout the picture plane are other more obscure and historically relevant elements related to the crucifixion. "Arma Christi" which are instruments said to have been part of the passion of Christ include; the pincers, the nail, a bag of coins, a clock, a shroud. There is also an arrangement of references that connect to a larger body of work devoted to the a more theoretical view of Leonardo da Vinci and his assumed atheistic leanings. By bridging humor and modern graphics to a monumental narrative of the crucifixion of Christ a present day audience is given a lighter visual under which to ponder the mystery of an otherwise gruesome story of forgiveness and redemption.


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