Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.


May 28, 2021 - Irina Shkoda

The concept of sin is an important theme in my work. As an atheist, I intend to investigate the phenomenon of splitting the sin concept and the religious paradigm that gave birth to it. So, having abandoned the Christian faith, I still ardently respond to the possibility of committing a sin (read, an unorthodox sexual act) as a call to a non-existent God. Sin (sign) from separating (leading away from God) became uniting (leading to Him).
In my childhood I already adored this sweet word “sin”. All the most mysterious and desirable things were connected with it. It was like a game: you cannot become good and get love, so try to become visible and unforgettable!
I began to feel false early. Adult believers talk about the need to live godly, implying some kind of self-interest. Relationship with God is like a trade: we will behave well, and for this, we will receive the right to live forever. Sin, in my understanding, was an act of utmost sincerity, an exit from market relations into the space of counterculture, a refusal to buy love. I kind of defied and sacrificed my eternity for the beauty of my rebellion.
Many years later I realized that in Christianity I love a Human. That all the revolutionary spirit of Christianity is contained in the phrase “I came not to the righteous, but sinners,” and this is what captivates me along with the weakness and vulnerability of a doubting, humanized God (“Take this cup away from me ‘cos I don’t want to take this poison … ”). It was “human, all too human” that made my heart swoon in empathy. Sin has become part of my identity.
Sin is a lack, a hole, a wound, a plea for love. Sin is the Lacanian splitting of fatally sick animals, a futile attempt to reach the Other.
All my projects now I do through the optics of the sinner. In this way, I try to walk my path as a consistent atheist who, through sin, tries to resurrect a dead God and finally ask questions that are so painful to have unspoken.
I would like to end with the words of Jacques Derrida: “…if you go through what we know as negative theology, apophatic theological criticism, and so on, and deconstruction – if we don’t go as far as possible in this direction of atheism, then this belief in God is naïve and totally inauthentic. Now, in order to be authentic, belief in God must be exposed to the absolute doubt.”