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Heri, Hodie, Cras

Graffiti styling, religious symbolism and Afro-Brazilian influences from Stephan Doitschinoff

by James Thorne in Culture on 21 September 2012

The son of an Evangelical minister, Stephan Doitschinoff is a Brazilian artist with a penchant for religious iconography and bright graphic styling. His scope includes installation and video, though Doitschinoff is perhaps best known for his paintings and public works. Opening tonight, "Herie, Hodie, Cras" (Latin for "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow") is a solo exhibition at Gestalten Space in Berlin that presents new work in conjunction with the release of the artist's second monograph to date, "Cras."

The show features a multimedia installation and works on canvas, as well as the two short films "Brilho do Sol" ("Sunshine") and "Tudo é Vaidade" ("All is Vanity"). The monograph is being released by Gestalten and is a comprehensive look at work from the last four years. Pedro Inoue designed the monograph, and together with the artist created illuminated texts that reveal the artistic philosophy behind the work.

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In some ways reminiscent of a 21st-century Hieronymus Bosch, Doitschinoff's work mixes Baroque religious symbolism with pagan and contemporary reference points. The style draws heavily from street art with an influence from surrealism and traditional folk art. Doitschinoff is also interested in the Afro-Brazilian tradition, and has created several site-specific public installations throughout the country. While the art parodies religious symbolism to some extent, the effect is far from mocking. Doitschinoff work has made its way into religious spaces—one public piece assumes the role of a devotional in a small chapel—and carries an adjusted spiritual message.

"Heri, Hodie, Cras" opens tonight at Gestalten Space and will run through 14 October 2012. The monograph, "Cras," sells for $68 and can be purchased at the Gestalten shop. See more images from the book and the exhibition in our slideshow.

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