Bill Viola

Alterpiece for Saint Johns Cathedral

From the
Engulfed in flames, doused in water, buried by soil and strung up by the ankles … watch as the four figures in American video artist Bill Viola’s new work are put through the wringer. Viola has debuted the first of a two-part digital altarpiece, which critic Jonathan Jones has called a profound blast of hi-tech Caravaggio. A second work, Mary, will be unveiled next year

Bill Viola says
As the work opens, four individuals are shown in stasis, a pause from their suffering. Gradually there is movement in each scene as an element of nature begins to disturb their stillness. Flames rain down, winds begin to lash, water cascades, and earth flies up. As the elements rage, each martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In their most violent assault, the elements represent the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.



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