bill viola is back in london with love/death: the tristan project. it runs across two gallery spaces - haunch of venison and st olaves college. i have been to the half at haunch of venison - hoping to visit the other half soon. bill viola is one of my favourite artists. his work is in video and is always very thought provoking and often has spiritual themes - angels of the new millenium, triptych, the messenger, passions and so on.
the current work is ten new pieces.
two pieces in particular really grabbed me. one was passage into night which is a slowed down video that lasts about 50 minutes of a person walking towards the camera. the figure gradually gets closer filling the screen until all that remains on the screen is the black robes with small movements. an increibly simple idea but stunning.
the other is purification. on two large screens a woman and man go through seven stages of ritual purification. again this lasts about 50 minutes. it's very slow but utterly compelling. harry and i couldn't move on - we ended up watching the whole sequence. the sequences of cleansing and washing are very moving. i found myself praying and asking for cleansing myself. it also made me wonder if we should have more ritual related to confession in our worship. it's hard to describe just how powerful it was to sit and watch this video piece. you simply must go and visit if you are in london. it's free and running until september 2. i took a few pictures of these two pieces and have added them to flickr.
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