Photo artist and parodist Eugene Soh strikes again.

You probably know Singaporean photo artist Eugene Soh's work. He famously parodied Renaissance paintings and painting styles in 2010, which included a strangely beautiful tableau at Maxwell Food Centre, entitled The Last Supper. His newest series, The Second Coming, imagines, yes, the return of Jesus Christ...to Singapore, of all places. Enlisting the cooperation of friends and fans, including the poet Marc Nair as Jesus himself, the series is currently on display at Chan Hampe. Here he tells us why he's obsessed with biblical stories and how the second coming might not be the way we imagine it. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Second Coming

Why were you interested investigating this hypothetical?

I am a Bible geek and I am especially fascinated by Jesus, his prophecies to come and the apocalypse! The beginning of the end is marked with Jesus' return to earth. Where will he land? However absurd it may sound, Jesus' second coming in Singapore is plausible and we shouldn't be surprised if it actually happens. The Bible says that "all eyes will see him" descend from the sky, and this is only possible in a flat earth situation...or if footage of his descent goes viral on the interwebs. Maybe the Bible was talking about futuristic mass communication all along. Jesus may then choose Singapore for our hi-speed connectivity.

 

How did you decide which scenes from the gospel to reinterpret?

The series consist of two types of scenes, the ones from his first appearance and ones from his visit to come. I wanted to cover the major events in the Jesus narrative--his birth, death, resurrection, second coming and Armageddon. This is so that I cover his life story all together and see how they compare.The Last Christmas in this series isn't exactly depicting the same scene as Da Vinci did. It is depicting a future scene when he announces the end of the world during his birthday celebration.

New Testament 2.0

Were you concerned that the series would be viewed as insulting to religious sentiment, a la Amos Yee and Madonna?

In the words of YouTube personality DeeKosh about Amos "There were a lot of things he said that were true. There were a lot of things he said that could have opened up discussion." It was the way that [Amos] said it that shut people out. Yes, I am concerned. But I believe that there is a tactful way to talk about these issues without landing in jail. It is like talking about The Emperor's new clothes. We can't be rude about it otherwise the right people won't listen. If the story of Jesus taught me anything, it is to always keep an open mind. What if God decides to surprise us with yet another off-spring, maybe a daughter this time. Would we crucify her too? or treat her like she was mental?


Happy Birthday & Merry Christmas, Jesus

Some of the photos are quite silly—like Jesus blowing out the birthday cake. Tell us a bit more about choosing those scenarios.

We celebrate his birthday every Christmas, the way we celebrate it might change after the birthday boy shows up for his party. Would it be celebrated Super Bowl style? Would he adopt our rather strange culture of blowing out candles on a cake once a year? I thought it'd be funny if he did. It wouldn't be the first time he was adopting our culture.

What are some silly comments you’ve gotten on the series?

"Jesus isn't dark skinned." No one really knows but chances are that he is pretty dark skinned based on his birth place. This guy's image of Jesus has been white-washed and doesn't realize it.

Eugene Soh's The Second Coming is on display through Mar 13 at Chan Hampe Gallery. Find out more here.