Selected as one of the Best Photobooks of 2013 by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
“My Jesus was a real person who did not perform miracles and was not resurrected after death. He was a political revolutionary who, in the face of circumstances that appeared hopeless, succeeded revolutionizing the spirit.” — William E. Jones
Jones was asked to take part in the Houseguest series with the Hammer Museum where artists are invited to curate an exhibition based on the museum’s and UCLA’s diverse collection. During his time in the archives he came across an image which stuck in his mind – that of a wounded guerrilla fighter taken by Pedro Meyer in Nicaragua in the early eighties. Constrained by the physical space of the Vault Gallery, Jones let the image of the guerrilla fighter become a blueprint for selecting the 45 pieces in the exhibition.
The book confronts two conflicting questions, how is it possible to make an image of revolution, and, how is it possible to make a religious image? Through the diverse range of objects chosen and his text Jones challenges our perception of Christ, posits him as a revolutionary, examines the parallels between revolution and religion and the role of religious imagery in art. Including Renaissance and Baroque prints and drawings, documentary photographs, modern Latin American art, and rare books. The materials were drawn from the collection of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum and from the Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections.
"William E Jones has delved into the archives of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts and various other collections to illustrate his mischievous essay about Jesus Christ and his many imitators. The narrative begins with an analysis of the old testament and the emergence of Jesus as a revolutionary leader, but segues into an account of the Nicaraguan civil war funded in part by US tax dollars. He recounts the story of the sixth station of Christ in which a woman offers Jesus her veil to wipe his face clean. Miraculously an image of his face is automatically imprinted on the cloth. There are many versions of the story but one thing remains consistent; the name of the women, Veronika, composed from the Latin vera, or true, and the Greek ikon, or image. 'The story of a true image,' writes Jones, 'miraculously appearing on Veronika's veil, can be seen as an expression of medieval aspirations that later resurfaced in the 19th century with the invention of photography'." — Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin