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April 26, 2005

'The Quintet of the Astonished' — by Bill Viola


In the second exhibition room at the National Gallery in London are three cool cream benches, lined up one behind the other.

On the wall facing them is a life-size photograph (above) of five people standing in two rows — a man and a woman at the front, and three men behind them.

The photograph is in a frame and is lit like an old master painting.

Lights falls on the faces and there are dark shadows in the folds of their clothing.

But wait — the people in the photograph move, albeit very slowly.

What is this?

It is an artwork by Bill Viola called "The Quintet of the Astonished."

It went up in 2000, and continues to draw people in and disturb them.

Take the afternoon off and go have a look if you're a galley slave at The Financial Times or the Economist — I'll never tell.

[via Claudia Hammond and "Emotional Rollercoaster"]

April 26, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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