Holier Than Thou, 2021

Dynamic CGI animation, rendered in 3D software. Untreated steel, opaque and engraved plexiglass.

Holier Than Thou is a video installation in which a theatrical lament is performed by a CGI character behind a glory hole1. The work draws a connection between a glory hole and a Catholic confessional. In both contexts, an anonymous yet vulnerable surrender towards another is conveyed. The character, who professes to be atheist, appears to critique the concept of religion (i.e. Christianity) and in doing so, realises that perhaps that what he criticises could also offer exactly what he so desperately longs for. Despite his inability to believe in God, he is determined to fight his existential loneliness. Hoping to fill a void, he professes his devotion to a God whose existence he does not believe in.

Commissioned and acquired by Museum van Bommel van Dam for the museum’s permanent collection.

With many thanks to Museum van Bommel van Dam, Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and Christian Herren.

Installation: 145 x 81 x 50 cm
Duration: 6 min. (loop)

1 A glory hole (also spelled gloryhole and glory-hole) is a hole in a wall or partition, often between public lavatory cubicles or adult video arcade booths and lounges, for people to engage in sexual activity or observe the person in the next cubicle while one or both parties masturbate.

Glory holes are especially associated with gay male culture, and anal or oral sex, and come from a history of persecution. The partition maintains anonymity and a sense of reassurance that the people involved would not be identified and possibly harassed or even arrested.