Commissioned for the exhibition: Remembering the present, The Kreeger Museum, Washington, D.C. Spring 2000.In consideration of the relevance of monuments, I am struck at once by the fact that whatever their designations, monuments are not for everyone. In this country the statue of a Civil War era Union general might be toppled if he had actually been perched in the South, upon the ground he mortally consecrated. Monuments are not construed as paradigms by an enemy. Receiving equal import are religious statues. Aside from deities, most statues (monuments) are of saints who were in fact scoffed or worse in their lifetime. It’s not easy being a saint.
Saint Theresa of Avila died in 1582 and was subsequently canonised by the Vatican in 1622. During her life she had every intention of becoming a saint. As a mystic, she was subjected to prolonged illnesses and passions that, by virtue of their duration, became quite public and aroused suspicions, dangerous for a woman during the Spanish Inquisition.Equally provocative, Theresa was an aggressive public advocate and administrator of several monastic communities that existed by virtue of her guile.Befitting her stature, and as a qualification of her imprimatur to sainthood, her body has been exhumed five times for the purpose of examination, the excision of one body part or other going off to individuals and reliquaries (Franco kept her hand by his bed), and subsequent relocation of the remains to locations that claimed her as a prize.
MAKING A SAINT (ST. THERESA OF AVILA) I & II, 2000found wood, polyethylene, rubber, cork72” x 51” x 6”Private collection