An image of Christ on a plane in the crucifixion position has caused ructions in Spain and the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers is taking the Director of the Reina Sofía Museum, Manuel Borja-Villel to court over it.
The image is part of the exhibition ‘La Bondadosa Crueldad: Leon Ferrari, 100 años’ or ‘Kind Cruelty: Leon Ferrari 100 years old.’
The Association claims Borja-Villel is committing crimes against religious sentiments and inciting hatred and has described the exhibition of works donated to the museum by Leon Ferrari’s heirs as humiliating for Christians.
An online petition launched by hazteoir.org, which is also demanding the immediate withdrawal of the exhibition which it claims "insults Jesus" and "mocks the gospel.” Around 10,000 people have signed the petition.
Last Tuesday, the Director of Queen Sofia and the Exhibition's curators argued that Ferrari never criticised religious beliefs, but that his work criticised the manipulation of images by power structures such as the Church, Governments and the media.
"The exhibition includes Christ on a grill, Christ crucified on an American warplane and several collages that mix religious images with explicit sexual content," raged the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers. "This is recidivist behavior and goes against the very code of ethics of museums."
The Association has asked the Court to make precautionary measures to close the exhibition and called for Borja-Villel to be removed as Director of Queen Sofia and banned from public office.
"In 2014 Borja-Villel authorised a vexatious exhibition for Christians in which a church was seen with a box of matches and a message that said the only church that lights up is one that burns,” said Association President Polonia Castellanos. "At that time Jews, Muslims and even the Ombudsman showed their rejection of the show. The Code of Ethics of the International Council of Museums is categorical in its point 4.3 regarding the promotion of respect for the sacred objects of the communities where exhibitions are held.”
León Ferarri was one of the most important Latin American artists of the 20th century and his works are exhibited in museums all over the world, including the Moma. He was received countless awards, including the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale in 2007.
The ‘La bondadosa crueldad: Leon Ferrari, 100 años’ Exhibition at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid is open until April 2021.