The Temptation of the Image
Stone and wood
40 x 27 x 13 cm
A wooden board with what appears to be a loaf of bread, partially wrapped into a canvas cloth. The loaf of bread, however, is a stone: brown, crusty and unassuming on the outside, but revealing beautiful crystals inside once sliced in half. Samyn found this stone on a flea market on what he describes as “the desert of a melancholic day”. To the artist, it was a divine offering, reminding him of the temptation of Christ in the desert (Bible, Matthew 4:1-4):
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
The stone’s crystallization reflects a time scale so monumental it stands in stark contrast to momentary bodily needs, such as for bread. For Samyn, it embodies a metaphor for spiritual nurturing, which he considers equally important. In French, the word “pain” means bread.