On View at Sketch from April 4th
LESLEY KERMAN Reconstructing Duccio
Curated by Imogen Haisman
Sketch, from 4 April 2022
Inhabiting Sketch’s sacred art fuelled space amid this Easter period stands Lesley Kerman’s reconstruction of Duccio’s iconic Maesta altarpiece, originally commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308. Though today it is remediated and reinserted as an artwork located in the crypto-verse and offered as a non-fungible token. Cross contaminating visual oeuvres, this large-scale altarpiece virtually follows the cycle that unravels the scenes from Christ’s crucifixion.
Materialising in the form of an NFT, this work aims to address our established predilections regarding the Western canon through decentralized mediums, locations, and a disrupted understanding of value. It subverts the archetypal gaze on traditional allegories by thrusting deeply religious themes into the contemporary spectrum. Considering our approach to old master’s artwork, especially with religious significance, there is an informed gaze and subconscious tendency to navigate with caution.
We rely on ancient narratives to define the work and leave it unchanged for centuries. Hence the juxtaposition to how we might approach an NFT artwork becomes even more potent. Decentralizing the work both in the secular space of Sketch and further as an NFT provokes a palpable binary between ancient and contemporary discourses, whilst equally disrupting any assumptions of value. The enriching themes of Sienese renaissance artwork that explores religion, death, holiness will no longer be fixed in its original setting, but re-routed in today’s contemporary practice and marketplace. Ultimately, proving that grappling iconographic tensions between these secular and devout artistic practices is more interlinked than one may suspect.
Reconstructing Duccio is presented at Sketch through a newly formed partnership with University of Exeter’s new MA in Curation. This work, and many multiples, are available on the leading NFT platform OpenSea. All profits made on the sale of the minted work will be donated to UNICEF and aiding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.