Project Description

Angels and Demons

Throughout her life, the artist constantly questioned and explored religious ideals and concepts as well as her own spirituality. This is evident in her art, where Joan Maggi´s work was completely honest and able to express uncertainty as to where she stood on the issue, and over the course of time how her personal life called such ideals and concepts into question and was thus reflected in her interpretation.

The artist’s earlier work suggests more traditional renderings of religious scenes like Jesus on the cross or Madonna and Child. Soon after, representations of demons in religious contexts such as her homage to Duccio di Buoninsegna’s “Temptation of Christ” began to emerge, and then the artist began to blur the line between the two, depicting fallen angels, and terminating in the depiction of almost alien-like demonic winged figures, oftentimes grotesque or frightening.

The grotesque and frightening winged figures were created after the artist began battling with cancer in 1995 and re-emerged with full force during her last bout with cancer in 2000. The figures appear to come from another world and perhaps represented to the artist the world beyond this one and the fear of the unknown, something completely alien to her real-world existence, and a far cry from the depictions of angels sent to protect her and to take her to a better place. Indeed, the internal struggle with her own mortality and how it conflicted with society’s interpretation of an afterworld and that which is beyond our conscious comprehension  is reflected in the evolving interpretation and representation of it in her work, allowing us a glimpse into the artist’s soul, allowing us to feel her fear and human fragility.