This collection of Doitshchinoff’s work is a riff on the story of St. Expeditus, a Roman centurion and early Christian. When Expeditus decided to convert, the devil sent a crow, crying “Cras! Cras!”, Latin for “Tomorrow”. Expeditus responded by crushing the bird’s skull, declaring, “Hodie!”, “Today!”
Doitshchinoff, a Brazilian artist, is the son of an evangelical pastor. In his teens, he began branching out, exploring anarchism, shamanism, punk, entheogens, Freud, Jung, Russian mob tattoo codes. His concerns are political, ecological, cultural; a man stunned by our inability to confront ourselves and the worlds we’ve created. As a result, manifold symbol systems are at play in his work, calling for the decision (if not the religion) of St. Expeditus.
To my eye, Doitschinoff’s work draws out the contradictions and tensions that define our days, pulling the poles apart, and cramming the space between with signs. Part of our struggle is the difficulty of decision in the absence of an absolute perspective. The skull of Adam resting at the foot of Doitschinoff’s crucifixion points to this. In Renaissance Christian art, the cross was often depicted as resting on the skull and bones of Adam: Christ overcoming death, which Adam brought into the world. In Doitschinoff’s engagement with this tradition, however, he makes a subtle move. The observer sees Adam’s skull inverted, its jaw broken. Death defeated. From the perspective of the cross, however, the skull is upright, undefeated. A parallax results, in which neither view captures reality. The status of death is in some way undecidable, and so calls for a response, a risky step into the void between. A step to be dared today, not “Tomorrow.”