[The submission of Abraham] Irina Sigitova


Her series, ‘Submission’ explores topics ranging from BDSM to the finiteness of life. In ‘The Submission of Abraham’, we are reminded of the still life of Abraham van Beijeren, a prominent figure in the Dutch Golden Age of painting who created sumptuous and extravagant still life scenes. The fruits of human labor portrayed in this work remind us of the finiteness of life, with bread and wine also symbolizing the sacrament. It could be interpreted as a votive sacrifice to God: objects or gifts offered up to the gods while asking for the fulfillment of a desire or as a plea for healing. We also see objects associated with erotica and BDSM in the image that make us reflect on the idea of pain and sacrifice in life. We may also bring to mind another Abraham – the biblical figure who was prepared to sacrifice his own son for the sake of some abstract belief. The question of how far we are prepared to go in pursuit of pleasure, pain, and even immortality, is one worth asking.

• About artist: Irina Sigitova



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– What is a still life?
This is an image of various objects – the fruits of human labour. This is a reminder of the finiteness of life. This is bread and wine as symbols of the sacrament, flesh and blood of the son of God, who was also sacrificed.
That is, in fact, a still life is a votive sacrifice to God. (Votive objects, votive gifts (Latin Votivus – dedicated to the gods, from Votum – vow, desire) are various things brought as a gift to a deity on a vow, for the sake of healing or the fulfilment of any desire).
The custom of offering votive objects is a soft form of sacrifice.

“The submission of Abraham” is
based on the Dutch still life of Abraham van Beijeren.
There are the reflections about sacrifice and the philosophy of pain in human life. The depicted knife for human sacrifice associatively directs to the scriptural story about another (Old Testament) Abraham. To whom God ordered to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.

And although formally human sacrifice in this story was not made, the very willingness of Abraham to sacrifice a valuable material for the sake of the immaterial, living flesh of a beloved son for the sake of the pointless and abstract – this readiness to sacrifice and submission leads to some reflections.
Well, first, let’s return to Abraham van Beijeren.

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