Bill ViolaEarth Martyr, Air Martyr, Fire Martyr, and Water Martyr, 2014

St Peter’s Chapel, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, County Durham

12 June - 26 October 2015

This summer, Auckland Castle will play host to four works from Bill Viola’s Martyrs series – Earth Martyr, Air Martyr, Fire Martyr, and Water Martyr – derived from the artist’s large-scale video work, Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)which was unveiled at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral last May. The works examine the theme of suffering, sacrifice and the concept of personal martyrdom and evocatively respond to their context whilst challenging preconceptions about faith. 

Auckland Castle has been the palace of the Prince Bishops of Durham for almost 900 years, and is also home to one of the most significant treasures of European religious art: in 1756 the then Bishop of Durham bought 13 paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), depicting Jacob and his 12 sons, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. These paintings still hang in the dining room that was specifically built for them.

Works by Bill Viola are also included in The Line, a walking art experience that sets modern and contemporary artwork amongst the natural and industrial setting of East London.

From 10 October, 2015, Viola will also be the subject of a major solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which will feature works from his extensive oeuvre.