Deposition

12. Deposition (Hexagon Gallery)

The artist presents a metal fabrication of the Little Boy of the Warsaw Ghetto and places him on a wooden cross overlooking a valley. The colours are drained from the Little Boy’s body and stand in contrast to the brightly coloured items in the foreground. The colour of the body evokes blood and rust. Nails appear through his hands, which, torn from his arms, are still affixed to the cross. In the foreground we see the boy’s rucksack and shoes. A collection of stones surround the body perhaps in reference to the Jewish tradition of leaving pebbles on a grave marker. This is also a rare instance when Bak renders the Little Boy smiling. The distinction between his pained smile and the absolute terror on the face of the photographed boy is stark and unsettling. In most paintings illustrating the descent from the cross, Jesus is taken down by a group of people and his body is carefully prepared for burial. However, in Bak’s Deposition, there is no one. The Little Boy “descends” from the cross through his own body weight, his arms torn from his hands. He is alone in abysmal solitude. Bak’s Deposition is a memorial to profound, immeasurable loss.

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