Bill Viola to Unveil New Video Installation at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral

Viola's pieces created a union between contemporary art and devotion.

Bill Viola, Mary, 2016 courtesy of Blain Southern.
Bill Viola, Mary, 2016 courtesy of Blain Southern.

Internationally acclaimed artist Bill Viola will unveil his second permanent large-scale video installation at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. The video titled Mary will be inaugurated in the North Quire Aisle on September 8, 2016 to coincide with the Feast of Mary.

The installation accompanies Viola’s previous artwork commissioned by the cathedral titled Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), which was unveiled in the South Quire Aisle in 2014. Together, Viola’s pieces are the first moving-image installation to be housed in the cathedral on a long-term basis.

Both Mary and Martyrs are a collaboration between Viola and his wife, Kira Perov.

Bill Viola, <i>Martyr (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), </i> (2014). Photo by Peter Mallet, courtesy of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Bill Viola, Martyr (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), (2014). Photo by Peter Mallet, courtesy of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

No stranger to working with themes and physical spaces of devotion, Viola’s art has previously been exhibited at Durham Cathedral, the Basilica di San Marco in Milan, as well as the church of San Gallo for the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Speaking of his pieces for St. Paul’s Cathedral, Viola said in a statement, “One is concerned with birth and the other death; one with comfort and creation, the other with suffering and sacrifice. If I am successful, the final pieces will function both as aesthetic objects of contemporary art and as practical objects of traditional contemplation and devotion.”

Bill Viola, <i>Water Martyr (panel 4 of 4),</i> (2014). Courtesy of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Bill Viola, Water Martyr (panel 4 of 4), (2014). Courtesy of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Not only do the installations seek to form a union between contemporary art and devotion, they also encourage a discussion about contemporary issues in the context of timeless themes embodied in the cathedral.

Bill Viola’s video installation Mary will be on view at St. Paul’s Cathedral starting September 8, 2016.


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