Skip to content

Mark Wallinger
The Word in the Desert III, 2000

A man wearing a suit sits on the ground in front of a primary school gate.

Mark Wallinger, The Word in the Desert III, 2000

Mark Wallinger addresses and critiques the dominant structures within society that secure national identity, class structure and tradition. Since the late 1990s his work has engaged specifically with the meaning and purpose of religious belief. This is one of a series of four photographic works featuring the artist’s alter-ego ‘Blind Faith’, who also appears in Wallinger’s video works, engaged in acts of visual trickery. Here he is depicted penitent, seated at the threshold of a disused primary school on Camberwell New Road, dedicated to St. John the Devine. A makeshift cardboard sign reads, ‘Teach us to sit still’.  As both Buddha and beggar, ‘Blind Faith’ is a mischievous evocation of the contradictions between the sacred and the profane, faith and doubt, perception, illusion and the construction of representation.