Since May 2014, St Paul’s Cathedral in London has hosted one of the most recent works by Bill Viola, among the best-known video artists in the world. “Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)” is a polyptych that, on four plasma screens, shows the same number of individuals being martyred by the natural elements. Around seven minutes long, the high definition films are shot in colour, without sound. “At the start of the work,” says Bill Viola, “the four individuals are shown in stasis, a rest from their suffering. Gradually, each scene acquires movement. Each element of nature begins to disturb their calm. Flames descend, the winds begin to be unleashed, water pelts down and the land is raised. While the elements rage, the determination of every martyr remains undimmed. In their most violent aggression, the elements represent the darkest hour of the passage of the martyrs through death to the light.” The staging of the prestigious video installation in the splendid setting of the Cathedral was designed by the renowned architectural practice, Foster + Partners, which, for the permanent exhibition structure, assigned Marzorati Ronchetti.
Photo Above: “Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)” © Bill Viola
Location: St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Executive producer: Kira Perov
Business: Marzorati Ronchetti
Performers: Norman Scott, Sarah Steben, Darrow Igus, John Hay
Credits Photo: Peter Mallet