Anybody’s Resurrection (2019)

Portfolio photo of boxed assemblage art by Frank Turek


The central background image is of five men. One man is lying on his back, and the other four stand behind, bending over him while holding a loosely draped wire. Small boards and a coat are being used to prop up the prone man. On the back side corners, framing this photo, are two posts collaged with green and black clippings from a Paul Gaugin painting. There is a red pin in each of these posts. Both pins secure a thin silver wire that curves down to attach to corresponding blue pins stuck into the central objects. The central assemblage is comprised of two one-inch square blocks covered with a metallic gold cloth. Atop these blocks are worn and rusted metal objects—a rusted plate and a brass bolt. Loosely connected between the two metal pieces are wires covered with a yellow-gold material that is badly frayed. The side panels of this box are mirrors. Propped up against each image are cards with a black-and-white photo of a bare-backed person who is pointing to spots on their back, which is marked with crosses. Center front, a card collaged with the word “anybody” from a children’s dictionary is propped up at an angle. All the objects rest upon a color illustration depicting the planets’ orbits around the sun. The inside top of this box is a black-and-white 1930s photograph of a flooded city’s downtown. The frame of this boxed assemblage is covered with green-striped wallpaper. On the sides are etched illustrations of early electrical dynamos. The back of the box is a grid of color drawings of mineral samples.


In all my works, I studiously try to avoid any allusions to any particular religion. But I do, from time to time, obliquely pay homage to renowned paintings of a Christian subject matter as I’ve done with Anybody’s Resurrection. This piece owes its Christian reference of resurrection by way of a tribute to German expressionist painter Max Beckman—a very early influence of mine whose work I discovered in the 1980s on my first visit to the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. Beckman had at several times depicted Christlike figures in his compositions. They were portrayed as contemporary 1930s Germans. This remembering of Beckman’s paintings guided my composition of this assemblage which is centered upon the background photo of men whose dress and appearance bear a resemblance to Beckman’s models. There are several references to electricity here, somewhat too obvious for how I typically work, but I do like how the idea of electricity works its way throughout this piece, especially if you consider the various meanings of the electrical terms power and current. And in the act of resurrection, electric is a good way to describe the energy of such an act, as I imagine it. Electricity is also an analogy of the democratization of religion, and hence, the resurrection of anybody.