In recent years, many people — not only Christians — have adopted the practice of giving something up for Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter. However, this spiritual discipline can also be practiced by taking something up. This Lent, Arts Chaplaincy Projects invited artists to consider their own spiritual journey (as they understand it) and present work in relation to one or more of the Stations of the Cross.

These episodes from the Passion narrative have historically been the subject of many works of art, from Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo, [Station 1], to Michelangelo’s Entombment [Station 14], via Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ [Station 12] and Sam Taylor-Wood’s Pietà [Station 13]. However, the Stations need not reference traditional depictions — for example, Gina Pane channelled the Christian sacrificial narrative through action performance, while Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross proposed a ‘universal’ spirituality via abstraction. Stations 2021 uses graphic icons (by Mark Dean) to indicate the various stations, with associated readings.

Of the fourteen episodes that make up the traditional Stations of the Cross, eight are attested to in the Gospels, while the three where Jesus falls, and the one where he meets his mother, are imaginative extrapolations. The Veronica incident is entirely speculative, although of particular interest to artists. Please click on the Stations 2021 icons for relevant texts.

When used as a focus for meditation, the Stations of the Cross are often accompanied by such texts; sometimes these have a literal relationship to illustrative images, but there are other approaches to engaging with them. Lectio Divina is an ancient way of reading meditatively, identifying a single word or phrase that carries a particular significance to the reader in that moment. This word or phrase can then become the subject of further contemplation, leading to action — which in this case, could be the production of art work.

Participants were welcome to approach this project in whatever way they chose — whether through faith, critical enquiry, or experiment (none of which are mutually exclusive).

Traditionally there are 14 Stations of the Cross. In recent times a 15th has sometimes been added: Jesus Rises from the Dead. For Stations 2021, 1-14 were opened on Good Friday; a 15th Station will be added on Easter Day. We hope you enjoy the exhibition.

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For further information, please follow the links on artist’s pages