Controversial Stations Of The Cross Exhibition Set To Open Without Censorship

St Stephen Walbrook

A  sculpture by the ‘Street” artist Ryan Callanan, who goes under the pseudonym of RYCA has been moved by church officials at St Stephens Walbrook ahead of an annual Stations of the Cross exhibition, opening Thursday. Complaints from several parishioners at the church designed by Christopher Wren in 1672, prompted the rehanging of the exhibition. 

The life-size white imperial stormtrooper from the original 1977 Star Wars film hung on a wooden cross titled ‘Crucified Stormtrooper’ is for sale priced at £12,000. Callanan has worked with the bands Kasabian and Fatboy Slim.

Ben Moore the show’s organiser said there have also been questions raised about whether other parts of the exhibition, including works featuring nudity by Francis Bacon, Paul Benney and Ricardo Cinalli, were to be moved or excluded ahead of the private view.

St.Walbrook, based in the heart of the City of London is hosting Art Below’s ‘Stations of the Cross’ until 23rd March and includes crucifixion themed artworks by artists Paul Benney, Ricardo Cinalli, Sebastian Horsley and Ben Eine.

This will be the third crucifixion themed exhibition to be curated by Ben Moore in support of the Missing Tom Fund set up to find Tom Moore (brother of Ben Moore) who has been missing since 2003.

Art Below’s 2015 ‘Stations of the Cross’ Exhibition at London’s St.Marylebone Parish Church included a life-size body cast of Pete Doherty nailed to a cross entitled ‘For Pete’s Sake’ and attracted media attention worldwide. The First Stations of the Cross Exhibition took place at St.Marylebone Paris Church – 6th March to 17th April 2014 and was showcased on billboard space across the London Underground and included work by Antony Micallef, Mat Collishaw, Polly Morgan, Paul Fryer Alison Jackson and Bran Symondson.

Prior to the forced removal of the work, Revd Jonathan Evens of St Stephen Walbrook had said:

‘This is an exhibition of images designed to provoke thought from artists grappling with their response to the challenge and scandal of Christ’s cross. Among these, Ryan Callahan’s Stormtrooper Crucifixion may be viewed as being among the more controversial images in the exhibition. For me this image raises similar questions to those which CS Lewis raised in his science fiction trilogy i.e. that, were other races to exist on other planets, would Christ be incarnated among those races in order to die for their salvation? Lewis’ view, which he sets out in the story running through the trilogy, is that Christ would do so. For Christians, Ryan Callahan’s image can lead us a similar conclusion. I commend these images to you as an image that can open our ideas and minds to new reflections on the eternal significance of Christ’s sacrifice.’

Stations Of The Cross St Stephen Walbrook Until 23 March



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