MARTYRS SERIES

BILL VIOLA

2014

Video,Sound installation

7’58’’

This artwork is displayed in exhibition Martyrs Series in Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (RMCA)

Venue:RMCA HALL 3

Earth MartyrAir MartyrFire Martyr, and Water Martyr are four works that are derived from the permanent large-scale video installation Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), unveiled at St Paul's Cathedral, London in May of 2014.

The Greek word for martyr originally meant “witness.” In today’s world, the mass media turns us all into witnesses to the suffering of others. The martyrs’ past lives of action can help illuminate our modern lives of inaction. They also exemplify the human capacity to bear pain, hardship, and even death in order to remain faithful to their values, beliefs, and principles. These four works represents ideas of action, fortitude, perseverance, endurance, and sacrifice.

As the work opens, an individual is shown buried in a cone of earth, in stasis, a pause from his suffering. Gradually there is movement as this element of nature begins to disturb his stillness. The earth gradually begins to rise and to batter his body, gradually gaining momentum. The stronger the earth rages, the more the martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In its most violent assault, the earth represents the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.

As the work opens, a woman is shown hanging by her wrists in stasis, a pause from her suffering. Gradually there is movement as an element of nature begins to disturb her stillness. A wind picks up and begins to batter her body, gradually gaining momentum. The stronger the wind rages, the more the martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In its most violent assault, the wind represents the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.

As the work opens, an individual is shown resting in a chair in stasis, a pause from his suffering. Gradually there is movement as an element of nature begins to disturb his stillness. As flames drip down, he begins to awaken while the threatening flames grow taller around him. The stronger the fire rages, the more the martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In its most violent assault, the fire represents the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.

As the work opens, an individual is shown on the ground in stasis, a pause from his suffering. Gradually there is movement as an element of nature begins to disturb his stillness. As he is raised by his ankles, water starts to cascade from above. The stronger the water rages, the move the martyr’s resolve remains unchanged. In its most violent assault, the water represents the darkest hour of the martyr’s passage through death into the light.

 

 

 

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