Casting Jesus

Christian Jankowski &

Christian Jankowski’s Casting Jesus shows the search for an actor for the role of the Son of God. Not a modern television studio, but a plain hall in Santo Spirito in Rome is the scene of a quite different casting show.

On the left-hand side of a two channel projection we can watch how, one after the other, 13 simply-clothed male protagonists appear and follow the directions of the three-man jury, which we see on the right. While the potential Jesus actors are mostly shown in full-length, we see the three jurors in close-up, hear their instructions and their – just like a real casting show – not always objective comments. In addition to their appearance, they are also asked to show their ability as actors with 'typical' gestures or poses which one knows from Christian iconography. From the healing of imaginary illnesses and the Bearing of the Cross, right up to simulated death on the cross, the candidates must demonstrate their Jesus-qualities. In the final round one of the remaining candidates actually manages to meet the jury’s standards.

The fact that the jury are representatives of the Vatican, and are playing their roles without a script, makes the situation even more scurrilous and shows the viewer quite clearly the incongruities of show business – and our image of Jesus as its leading representative. (Fritzi von Schoenebeck, Sandra Tschauner)

* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist, Klosterfelde and Lisson Gallery.

About the video

Title Casting Jesus
Year 2011
Videonale VIDEONALE.14
Length 01:00:00
Format 16:9
Language Italian with English subtitles
Courtesy the artist, Klosterfelde and Lisson Gallery
Specifications color, sound, two-channel video
Winner of Videonale Award of KfW Stiftung

About the artist

Christian Jankowski
  • 1968 in Göttingen, GER.
    Studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg, GER

Insights at Videonale X

desktop selfie
On irony and the core of it all: A quick scroll through Christian Jankowski’s multidisciplinary practice and influences.
X questions
"Nothing is overrated." As he scrolls through his Instagram feed, we find out when Christian Jankowski gets angry, what he still wants to achieve, and how important it is to be understood.
Changeable concepts. Christian Jankowski persuades the Vatican to cooperate and erects temporary crosses made of adhesive tape.