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Barbed Wire of Christ

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Barbed Wire of Christ
German: Stacheldraht-Christi
Stacheldraht-Christi by Lubo Kristek.jpg
ArtistLubo Kristek
Dimensions250 cm × 115 cm (98 in × 45 in)

Barbed Wire of Christ is an outdoor sculpture, created by Lubo Kristek in 1983[1] on the coast of Cantabria.[2] Kristek made it out of junk he had found around the place.[3] The artist comments on the state of society through de-aesthetization of cultural paradigm.[2] Barbed wire permeates Christ’s body as veins.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Kristek travelled intensely throughout Europa and America[4][5], mostly to coastal countries[3]. It enabled him to apply transcultural experience in his artworks.[6] During his wanderings, Kristek used to create artworks using materials he had found on-site.[7] Nature was his exhibition space, his works were not for sale and were meant for everybody.[3] Kristek wanted to stay away from the consume and commercialization similarly to the land artists of that time. He protested against perception of artwork as a mere commodity.[8]


In 1983, Kristek found scrap iron and pieces of wood on the coast of Cantabria,[4] near San Vicente de la Barquera.[9][dead link] and created the Barbed Wire of Christ. The crucified Christ is made of trash. Pieces of barbed wire come through his body and form his arms and legs. This work is an example of site-specific art.


Kristek often uses found objects in his artworks.[10] He gives them a new context and a new identity.[3] Kristek found waste more often during his wanderings and created artworks of them to give a statement and raise awareness of trash.[7] Another example of the use of trash in Kristek’s art is his assemblage On the Landfill of Ages (1994).

Barbed wire is connected with Kristek’s personal journey. Before 1968, he lived in Czechoslovakia. Barbed wire fences were on the borders as part of the Iron Curtain dividing Europe into “the west” and “the east”. “The west” was forbidden. To cross the borders without permission was considered a criminal offence at that time.[11] In 1968, after the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kristek painted protest posters and emigrated to West Germany. [12][13] For his staying abroad, he was sentenced, in absentia, by the Czechoslovak regime.[11] Kristek used barbed wire in more of his artworks, for example in the Automatic Trains of Thought – Desk (1975).[14]


  1. "Přemýšlej a najdi si v tom něco, říká o svých dílech umělec Kristek". iDNES.cz (in čeština). 5 August 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Půtová 2013, p. 13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Fischer 2019, p. 63.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Půtová 2018, Chapter: Lubo Kristek: The Sun King in the Theatre of His Own World
  5. Fischer 2019, pp. 56–57.
  6. Putova, Barbora (10 March 2014). "Trinacte zastaveni si kazdy musi najit sam". Filozoficka fakulta Univerzita Karlova (in čeština). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fischer 2019, p. 65.
  8. Mueller, Sven (1976). "Das kunstvolle Leben des Bildhauers: Lubo Kristek". Collage: Zeitschrift für Literatur und Grafik (in Deutsch). No. 3. p. 50.
  9. "Barbed Wire of Christ". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. Fischer 2019, pp. 59–71.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Fischer 2019, p. 26.
  12. Půtová 2018, Chapter: History and Happenings – Introduction
  13. Fischer 2019, p. 22.
  14. Fischer 2019, p. 66.


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