The Messenger

“In [Viola’s] work we glimpse mystery through the ordinary and everyday, the transcendent through the imminent…a profound meditation on life and being itself”


The Messenger

Originally commissioned for Durham Cathedral by the Chaplaincy to the Arts & Recreation in North East England in 1996, The Messenger has a resonating presence in Fabrica, a deconsacrated Regency Church in the heart of the Brighton Lanes.

The Messenger is wonderful in its simplicity. On screen, large shafts of light reveal a mysterious figure slowly emerging and then disappearing again into deep blue-black water. At its climax a single breath rings out to break the silence, the sound resonating throughout the gallery. No gimmicks, no controversy, it is the anticipation of this one sound that makes The Messenger so poetic.

The Messenger by Bill Viola is a video installation that invites the viewer to meditate and reflect.
Originally commissioned for Durham Cathedral in 1996 by the Chaplaincy to the Arts & Recreation in North East England, The Messenger has a resonating presence in Fabrica, a deconsecrated Regency Church.

The Messenger dives into the spiritual depths of life.
Breathing resonates throughout the space and gives an almost ritual rhythm to the harmoniously changing landscape of the vision created by the artist.
Inhaling and exhaling is vital for a human being, is an act that is only realised when breathing discipline or lack of oxygen make it overwhelmingly clear.

Total Visitor Numbers: 6,038


Exhibition Visitor Comments

I felt like I was being birthed…

Fascinating – that the figure, human form, should bring light to our space

I found myself gasping for air, wanting to breath for him… absolutely fantastic and magical