Earth, Air, Fire, Water.
Within the suggestive setting of Saint Paul Cathedral in London, Bill Viola showcases a work of art that explores the struggle between the earthly and the heavenly. As the work open, four individuals are shown in stasis, few moments of rest from their suffering. Gradually an element of nature introduces some movement to each scene, destroying the initial stillness and its ephemeral peace. Flames rain down; winds begin to lash, water cascades and the earth flies up, torturing the martyrs that remain stoically unchanged. In their most violent assault, the elements represent the martyrs’ darkest hours through death into the light. Viola‘s martyrs are witnesses of the world’s suffering, which they bear in silence to remain faithful to their values of hope and rebirth. Their sacrifice isn’t vain as it shows the fortitude, the perseverance and the strength of the human being. The martyrs’ past live serve to us as a meaningful example to fight with passion for our own beliefs.