Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bill Viola’s ‘Mary’, St Paul’s Cathedral, London: ‘Iconic and Unknowable’

By Rachel Halliburton
Bill Viola's new video installation seems like a natural culmination of his life’s work
UNITED KINGDOM---What we see, then, in this new work is Viola grappling with the weight of artistic and religious history, striving to evoke a woman who is simultaneously iconic (in the most literal sense of the word) and unknowable. From the potent opening image, the triptych of plasma screens divides, first into three, and then into still smaller sections. Inspired by the predella tradition — in which small narrative works of art would appear below a central altarpiece — each section alludes to a moment in an existence defined by the birth and death of Mary’s son. It is Mary as “container of the uncontainable” — as some scriptures described her — who most strongly inspires this installation. [link]