God’s Gift

Rating: NNNNNwhat would it be like to get a handwritten letter from God? For an experience as close as you'll.


Rating: NNNNN

what would it be like to get a handwritten letter from God? For an experience as close as you’ll get on this side of the beyond, check out the Wenzel Ziersch show at the Goethe Institut.

Ziersch is a young artist living near Munich. Like a medieval monk, he spends hours each day inscribing biblical texts onto paper, plexiglass and painted wood or embossing them on parchment.

The words are tiny and often illegible, not to mention written in German, so non-German speakers have little choice but to focus on the works as aesthetic objects.

One of Ziersch’s Counter-Images hangs in the Goethe Institut’s window, a large plexiglass sheet covered in black ink in which the Book of Genesis has been scratched.

As the light filters through, you realize that, while you may not understand what the Big Guy is saying — in any language — it’s nice to know he’s out there.

Another work, Inscription, has the hovering presence of a Rothko, the words repeatedly pencilled over top of each other until all that’s left is broody grey planes.

Ziersch says he chose the Bible not out of religious motivation but because he needed a text that would sustain him in his obsessive act of writing. But you can’t get away from the spiritual quality of these works.

In the beginning was the Word. Never has the opening of the Gospel of John felt quite so literal.

WENZEL ZIERSCH at the Goethe Institut (163 King West) to April 13. 416-593-5257. Rating: NNN

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