Tristan's Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall)


Video/sound installation: Color High-Definition video projection; four channels of sound with subwoofer (4.1)

Projection surface (screen): 580 x 326 cm (228 3/8 x 128 3/8 in.) Video: 10min. 16sec.

Passed upside down, the video work Tristan's Ascension illustrates in an extreme slow motion the elevation of an inert man, the body initially lying on a stone slab, carrying with it in its upward movement tornadoes The power of the final deluge seems to bring it back for a time to life before it disappears from the top of the large screen.

Its author, Bill Viola, considers this slow motif as a metaphor for "the ascent of the soul into space after death". The latter belongs to the mythical lover of the tale of love and death Tristan and Isolde, which the American artist adapted in video format in The Tristan Project, the object of his staging for Wagner's opera in 2005. Focusing on the various most dramatic episodes, including the death of Tristan, the video series takes the form of long sequences in which solitary bodies seem to disembody behind the power of the elements.

Tristan's Ascension was first shown by Pinault Collection during the exhibition "Bill Viola: Amore e Morte" at the Gucci Museo in Florence in 2011.