Mary, the second permanent large-scale video installation for St Paul’s Cathedral created by the internationally acclaimed artist Bill Viola, opened to the public on 9 September 2016 to coincide with the Feast of Mary. Mary has been conceived as a companion piece to Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) which was unveiled in the South Quire Aisle of the cathedral in 2014. These installations are the first moving-image artworks to be installed in a cathedral in Britain on a long-term basis.
Bill Viola said: ‘The two themes of Mary and Martyrs symbolise some of the profound mysteries of human existence. 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.’
Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) is also on view as part of Home Land Security an exhibition occupying a suite of former military structures overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The FOR-SITE Foundation has brought together works by contemporary artists and collectives from around the globe to reflect on the human dimensions and increasing complexity of national security, including the physical and psychological borders we create, protect, and cross in its name.
Home Land Security is at Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco until December 18, 2016
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