15/06/2021 - 07/09/2021

Contemporary - Sculpture

Paul Pfeiffer - Incarnator

Exhibited for the first time in London, Paul Pfeiffer’s Incarnator is a multi-media installation, part video and part sculpture. In this work Pfeiffer used as his starting point the revered role of the ‘encarnador’ – a sculptor of holy Catholic figures intended as the focus of religious worship.

Encarnadores are celebrated for having the power to apparently breathe life into inanimate sculptures with their final brushes of paint, creating life-like effigies that seduce the eye into believing consciousness has been awoken in carved wood and paint.

In the Philippines, this power can be most clearly seen through mass devotion to the Santo Niño de Cebú, a polychrome religious icon which was brought as a gift from Spain in 1521 by Magellan, making it one of the oldest Christian relics in the country. The tradition continues to this day with the images of Catholic idols carved by encarnadores produced for personal and communal devotion.


St James's 11 Duke St, SW1Y 6BN