15 May - 6 June 2009
The churches in this series reflect a wide and diverse range of denominations and sects that form what is often referred to as the ‘charismatic evangelical movement’. Materially and architecturally the buildings display an almost protestant ascetism quite in keeping with a spiritualist church movement reacting against secular material rationalism and consumerism. Here, the holy spirit pervades, faith is intrinsic and god is personally experienced.
These churches feature none of the monumental architecture or symbols of status and power of the historically dominant denominations. The buildings were never designed to be churches. This random collection of architectural structures has come about as the result of numerous acts of faith. Often temporary, semi-permanent or un-consecrated, they are sometimes anonymous and almost invisible. They are located where we would least expect to find them, in industrial estates, shopping parades, houses, garages, cinemas, above pubs and commercial properties.
In an era of globalisation and migration in which religion is the subject of complicated political debates and the focus of many conflicts, it is often forgotten how religious beliefs offer a sense of community and support for those experiencing the displacement of urban existence. Spero’s work acknowledges that the divine may exist in the most unlikely places and testifies to an enduring need to seek out a state of grace.
Coinciding with his Photoworks Fellowship at the British School at Rome, David Spero exhibited a selection of works from his series Churches as part of the FotoGrafia 2009 festival of photography in Rome.
David Spero's exhibition Churches is showing at the National Media Museum until the 4 September 2011.