Commentaries by Lucy Newman Cleeve

Station I — Jesus is condemned to death: The Royal Road

A clip of Julie Andrews as the novice Maria from the opening scenes of The Sound of Music (1965) is layered over an extract from Psycho (1960). The looped clip of Andrews taking a single breath is so short that she appears as a still, solitary figure set against a background of clear blue sky, her chin lifted and head raised as she stares straight ahead. Her hand brushes against her skirt as it flaps gently in the wind; her chest rises and lips press shut as she breathes in; she blinks. The blue of the sky and the innocence suggested by Maria’s religious vocation is in contrast with the footage from Psycho, which cuts in and out to reveal the view through a car windscreen driving along a highway at nightfall. To begin with, it is daytime and the road is clear, but with each subsequent fade in, the on-coming traffic gets heavier and vehicle headlamps are switched on as the light disappears. Rain starts to fall, obscuring the view through the windscreen so that only the glare of the lights can be seen, before the windscreen wipers are switched on. They swing backwards and forwards, dividing time like the arm of a metronome in sync with the soundtrack which has been slowly building in intensity from the upbeat and harmonic opening bars to the urgent strumming and distorted guitar in the middle section of Ingenting’s ‘Re:re:re’. The action of the wipers is directly aligned with Andrews’ figure, slicing through her body in a way suggestive of the Grim Reaper’s scythe, and in this context indicative of the violent death to which Jesus is condemned. Towards the end of the work, the car arrives at Bates Motel. This is where Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is murdered by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) after he has assumed the identity of his own mother Norma. The film is based on Robert Bloch’s novel of the same name and both the novel and the film explain that Norman suffered years of emotional abuse by his mother, which accounts for him becoming ‘psycho’.

Andrews has long been considered an icon of the LGBT community and film theorists have drawn attention to her subversive portrayal of female roles (the nun, the nanny) normally seen as passive. Hitchcock’s treatment of women, both on screen and off-screen is contested. Throughout the Stations of the Cross, Dean’s portrayal of women is significant: the majority of the figures represented are female and he returns frequently to the archetype of nun, suffering screen siren, abandoned lover or child, and to themes of gender and sexual identity. He acknowledges that he does not seek to make images of God (although if he did, then why not as female or transgender?), but to represent personhood; that is, the experience of being a person in a world where there is a God. Rather than explicitly identifying Maria with the person of Jesus, this work could be understood as an acknowledgment of the suffering experienced by the LGBT community at the hands of the ‘mother’ church or by women at the hands of men. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help. Maria’s bib-fronted pinafore also alludes to the traditional uniform worn by nurses, calling to mind the sacrifice of inadequately protected NHS workers daily risking their lives in treating patients with the virus. These fragile identities are visually empowered through their re-framing and re-presentation, and their juxtaposition with Jesus’ suffering and death points to the redemptive power of the cross as well as the presence of God in the midst of human suffering.

Station II — Jesus carries his cross: The Sparrow

Original footage (shot by the artist) of a bird trapped within an airport lobby is set against the Irish folk ballad ‘As I Roved Out’, recorded by Planxty in 1975. As Christy Moore starts singing, the bird launches into flight, but is restricted by the large glass windows of the atrium. The astragals form a cross. The bird drops to the floor and hops forward to rest at the base of this ‘cross’, all the time shifting in and out of focus. The sense of confinement is in contrast with the space beyond where aeroplanes are assumed to be taking off and landing. Such imagery finds new resonances in this current season of lockdown, where entire populations are self-isolating and aircraft fleet are grounded, leaving families separated across borders and continents.

The song lyrics speak of the regrets of a man who jilts his true love in favour of “the lassie with the land”. This may be understood as a reference to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, or to Simon Peter denying Jesus three times the night after his arrest. Either way, the viewer is placed in the position of the betrayer: in the song, the singer looks over and spies his true love “under yon willow tree”, in this context an oblique reference to Jesus carrying his cross; the slipping focus of the camera and the exhaustion of the bird a metaphor for his failing physical strength. The image also reverberates with Jesus’ words to his disciples, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care… So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’ In this passage in Matthew’s Gospel, he also predicts, ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.’ The song ends with the words, “In hopes that you and I will meet again.” It is a hope with which many at this time can identify.

Station III — Jesus falls the first time: The End of Alice

The end of Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities (1974) — comprising a close up shot of a young girl (Yella Rottländer) inside a train carriage, an ascending aerial landscape view, and a scrolling credit sequence — is cut in three, timeshifted, looped and superimposed on itself. When the credits reach the end, the whole scene is repeated with the footage reversed. The film’s soundtrack theme is similarly timeshifted and layered. In the film, the child Alice has been abandoned by her mother; in this context perhaps a reference to Jesus’ own feelings of abandonment by God the Father. The slowed down footage of Alice blinking makes her appear drowsy, as if she is falling asleep or more literally ‘falling’. She becomes an archetype for the experiences of children during lockdown, viewing the outside world through a window, enduring boredom and repetition and unable to escape the imposition of screens and digital media. She is a still point within a chaotic world and through the final establishing shot we are given a privileged view of seeing this world from a distance. The rolling credits reveal who the director is — who is ‘in control’ — and the work could perhaps be understood as presenting the death of Jesus within the framework of a broader divine plan. The inclusion of a film’s closing credit sequence is a device that Dean returns to in each of the three Stations in which Jesus falls, used each time to different effect.

Station IV — Jesus meets his mother: My Mum (V2-Sensitive)

The image is an extract from The Birds (1963), depicting Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) visiting Bodega Bay to warn the school they may be in danger. The treatment of the figure, including the amplification of small gestures, is similar to the earlier Stations — a device perhaps mimicking and subverting Hitchock’s own voyeuristic framing and filming of women. Dean has replaced all of the footage of the birds with cut-away shots of a black screen, indicating that the menace here is not the birds.

The soundtrack combines ‘Berlin’ by Lou Reed (1976) with the introduction to ‘Memory of a Free Festival’ by David Bowie (1969) mixed with ‘Sensitive’ by the Field Mice (1989). The Field Mice lyrics, “We all need to feel safe, then that’s taken away, sometimes I want to return”, suggest a child’s yearning to return to the safety of its mother’s arms. Later in the track they sing, “You do risk being crucified, crucified by those you are unlike,” in this context clearly intended as a reference to Jesus’ death. The layering of the different musical tracks produces a discordant affect of heightened tension and foreboding. This is reinforced by Hitchcock’s (or is it Dean’s?) editing: after each cut away shot, the camera moves in closer to Hedren’s face, augmenting her rising panic.

My Mum (V2-Sensitive) had a life before Stations of the Cross, and precedes many of the other works, making us question its inclusion here. Is Dean commenting on his own relationship to his late mother? Is there something in what we know of Hedren’s off-screen treatment and alleged abuse by Hitchcock that is significant? Writing in Art Forum, Rachel Withers comments on Dean’s appropriation of an image of Tippi Hedren in an earlier work, observing that she “becomes a surrogate for the artist in a nuanced and moving moment of crossgender identification.” This particular work may invite us to imagine ourselves in the role of Jesus and of Mary, in the child separated from its mother, and in the mother fearful for the loss of her child. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, such fears and separations are commonplace, as is the yearning to return to a time before it all began.

Station V — Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross: Golden Rehearsal

The theme of abandoned child is picked up again in Golden Rehearsal, which appropriates a clip from John Cassavetes film Gloria (1980), in which a young boy’s family is killed by the mob. Their neighbour Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian and the pair go on the run in New York. In this extract, Gloria is shown carrying the small boy on her shoulder as he sleeps — a direct allusion to Simon of Cyrene carrying Jesus’ Cross. The footage is looped and layered multiple times, so that it becomes increasingly illegible.

The soundtrack is from the Beatles’ Get Back sessions recorded live at Twickenham Studios in 1969, shortly before the band broke up. Members of the band can be heard joking and laughing while Paul McCartney rehearses his new composition ‘Golden Slumbers’, in which the lines “Once there was a way to get back homeward” and “I will sing a lullaby” assume great poignancy. At the very end, McCartney sings the first line of ‘Carry That Weight’: “Boy, you gotta carry that weight a long time”.

Images of death, abandonment, fear and loss combined with protectiveness, tenderness and support run through this work. The lyrics suggest sleep (or death?) as a way to get back homeward (to heaven?), and reference both the physical weight of the cross as well as the weight of the sins that Jesus bears on the cross. The camera stays zoomed in on Gloria’s face, so that she appears almost still, although it is clear that she is actually moving nervously through a busy cityscape. Similarly, the audio track focuses on McCartney’s playing, even through it is clear that there is lots of activity going on around him. Once again, Dean seems to be drawing attention to a still point in the turning world.

Station VI — Veronica wipes the face of JesusThe Veil of Veronica (offset Halo)

This work appropriates a short extract from This Gun for Hire (1942) directed by Frank Tuttle and starring Veronica Lake. Dean has slowed down, overlaid and offset two identical layers of the same scene that portrays Veronica Lake’s character performing a magic trick with a large fan made of feathers. The soundtrack to the work is provided by the 1997 single ‘Halo’ by the band Texas. Dean has EQd the sound to remove the vocals (although their echo remains), the guitars and the drums, thereby bringing the harmonic undertones of the orchestration to the surface. The resulting work has a mesmeric quality that is heavy with allusion. At times, the feathered fan produces a veil that obscures the figure of Veronica Lake, but which also connotes angelic wings. The pseudonymous title of the work alludes to the 1st century Saint Veronica who, according to legend, offered Jesus her veil to wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted her offering and, after using the veil, handed it back to Veronica with the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. In some medieval traditions, effigies of the face of Christ are referred to as ‘Veronicas’.

These religious allusions are extended by the title and lyrics (albeit removed) of the audio track ‘Halo’, which also refer to the destructive lure of super-stardom and seem to echo the life of Veronica Lake, who was burnt by her own success and struggled with mental illness and alcoholism after the decline of her acting career. She veils or removes herself from the frame, as if to leave or transcend the external world, perhaps another oblique prefiguring of Jesus’ death or a comment on its efficacy. The faith of Saint Veronica is juxtaposed with the uncertainty and demise of the worldly Veronica, maybe a tacit acknowledgment of our human longing for proof of something higher than our own being in which to believe. And the image of the face of Christ left imprinted on the veil of Veronica questions the proofs upon which we base our knowledge of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Within the strange times, themes of immanence and transcendence, faith and doubt are amplified.

Station VII — Jesus falls the second time: A Minor Place

This work is constructed from a series of asynchronous loops from Wendy and Lucy by Kelly Reichardt, in which Michelle Williams (also known for her portrayal of the ultimate tragic screen siren, Marilyn Monroe) depicts a young woman whose life is progressively derailed through ill-fortune and dire economic decisions, resulting in separation from her beloved dog Lucy. She is shown sitting still and huddled, with her head covered so that her appearance becomes that of an androgynous homeless beggar. In our present situation, her figure invites identification with the poor and vulnerable who are disproportionally affected by the impact of COVID-19.

A moving camera shot through a forest is superimposed over the top of this, perhaps symbolic of the unconscious realm or impending threat, and the film credits ‘directed by Kelly Reichardt’ appear fleetingly in reverse. The drone like music, remixed from the film’s Will Oldham soundtrack, augments the darkness in the work and provides its title, which is borrowed from another Oldham song ‘A Minor Place’ (1999). Again, Dean uses the film’s credits as a device to reflect on Jesus falling. We are still given the privilege of knowing who is in control, but with the credits reversed, it is less clear. There is a sense in which perspective (of the victim and the viewer) is being lost as the Good Friday narrative draws closer to its climax and Jesus falls the second time.

Station VIII — Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem: Daughters of Jerusalem

This work appropriates footage from the closing sequence of the Israeli film Karov La Bayit (Close To Home) (2005) directed by Vardit Bilu and Dalia Hager. The film focuses on two 18-year-old Israeli girls who are thrown together as they are assigned to a patrol in Jerusalem as part of their compulsory military service. Their job is to stop Palestinian passers-by, to ask for their identity cards, and to write down their details on special forms. The sampled clip follows an altercation that has gone wrong, resulting in a Palestinian man being beaten up and possibly killed. The women are shown riding two-up on a motorbike, with the camera cropped in close on their faces and the footage slowed down. The speed of the original footage is apparent from the blurred landscape moving behind them creating the impression of still figures locked in a bewildering and disorienting world. The women’s faces look, in the same instant, guilty, defiant and numb as they start to realise they have become witnesses to a murder.

The image is in dialogue with the soundtrack — a remix of ‘Lovely Rita’ by the Beatles in which the words “Lovely Rita meter maid” are repeated over and over again. This track was presumably selected on account of the lyric “In her cap she looked much older, and a bag across her shoulder, made her look like a military man,” although this particular lyric is not included in the sampled extract.

The compassionate view of the two young women is complicated by their status as border guards in a contested territory — also bringing to mind the borders that have been locked in response to the pandemic, and the possible future introduction of immunity passports. Historically, the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ may be identified with a sorority of women who offered narcotic drinks to condemned men as an act of charity to ease the pain of their deaths. It was this ‘wine mixed with myrrh (or gall)’ that Jesus refused to drink on his way to be crucified.

Station IX — Jesus falls the third timeIn Freundschaft

In Freundschaft or ‘In friendship’ combines sound from the beginning and image from the end of Wim Wenders’ film The American Friend (1977), based on two novels by Patricia Highsmith, Ripley Underground and Ripley’s Game. In the film, picture framer Jonathan Zimmerman (Bruno Ganz) believes that he is critically ill, and is coerced into becoming a hitman in order to provide for his wife and child. The audio from the beginning of the film depicts a conversation between Tom Ripley (Dennis Hopper) and a painter discussing a forged art deal. The footage at the end shows Zimmerman lying dead in a car next to his wife Marianne (Liza Kreuzer). The scene is watched over by the (supposedly dead) painter who walks away from the camera as the end credits start to roll. The image and sound are looped, layered and time-shifted three times in reference to Jesus falling, becoming increasingly incoherent and disconcerting in the process. Whereas in previous works the credits have provided some sense of order, perhaps even implying a divine plan, here they become illegible through their repetition.

This is perhaps the darkest and certainly the most opaque of Dean’s Stations of the Cross. The audio begins with the sound of a train whistling and a man singing to himself, “God knows I have been doing some low down travelling” with tense music playing in the background. Distorted snippets of the conversation including, “I think this is serious”, “I’ve been waiting for you” and references to dirty-money art deals pop out, amplifying the sense of threat. The interwoven themes of money and death reinforce the extent to which a health crisis always inevitably becomes a financial crisis, and the role in which ‘thirty pieces of silver’ played in the Jesus’ death.

In Freundschaft refers back to two earlier works included in Dean’s first solo show at City Racing in 1996: Nothing To Fear (The American Friend +-12) and I’m Confused (The American Friend +-50%). It is also the title of a 1977 work by Stockhausen, in which the four parameters of pitch, duration, dynamics, and timbre are all determined by a musical formula, the basic form of which is presented at the outset of the work. In returning to The American Friend as source material, Dean continues to experiment with its formal parameters in ways informed by serial and minimal composers and the borrowed title of the work seems to flag this up.

Station X — Jesus is stripped of his garments: God is Not Mocked

This work appropriates the opening sequence from Kenneth Anger’s 6-minute film Puce Moment (1949), which begins with the film credits before cutting to a close up shot of vividly coloured flapper dresses being danced off a clothes rack to music.

In the context of the Stations, the removal of the dresses from the rack is an allusion to Jesus being stripped of his garments. Dean has looped and layered the footage, then overlaid it with a purple filter in reference to the title of Anger’s film and perhaps also to the ‘royal’ crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head at this point in the narrative. The soundtrack appropriates a lyric from Neil Young’s ‘Cowgirl in the Sand’, “Purple words on a grey background”, which is repeated over and over again and points attention back to Anger’s title and to the opening credits, in particular the pun in his name. ‘Anger’ could be understood as a comment on the attitude of the perpetrators who strip Jesus or, along with Dean’s title, God is not Mocked (a reference to Galatians 6:7), a riposte to Kenneth Anger’s own occult appropriation of Judeo-Christian imagery in his later works.

Station XI — Jesus is nailed to the cross: My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

This title references the last words Jesus spoke on the cross before he died, themselves appropriated from Psalm 22. At this moment in the narrative, Dean resists incorporating a figure, to signal his avoidance of representing the death of God. Instead, he appropriates the title sequence of Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie) aka Slow Motion aka Every Man For Himself (1980), by Jean Luc Godard. The puns in the text ‘Un film compose par Jean Luc Godard, Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie), Copyright 1979 Sonimage’ are explicit, referencing God in the director’s name and the image of the Son in the copyright notice, which is flagrantly flouted.

The credits roll over a vast expanse of cloud filled sky, suggestive of Jesus’ view from the cross, and a visual reference back to the composition of the first Station, indicating that Jesus’ death sentence has now been executed. The soundtrack is a short-looped extract from ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ by Rose Royce, which includes a rising and falling string section layered over a repetitive synthetic beat, producing in this context the effect of a nail being hammered into wood.

Station XII — Jesus dies on the cross: The Christmas Tree

Jesus’ death is perhaps the hardest point in the narrative to depict visually. Again, Dean resists figuration and offers up a silent video loop of footage from the start of a drag race. Modern drag races are started electronically by a system known as a ‘Christmas tree’, consisting of a column of seven lights for each lane, as well as a set of light beams across the track itself. Dean has overlaid and offset the same clip using a difference filter, so that where the two images are the same, the image appears dark; only the variation between the two layers is illuminated revealing a changing light-sequence of the Christmas tree and the speeding cars. The Christmas tree introduces a deliberate pun for the Cross of Christ, placing it at the centre of the action, and the moments of darkness created by the difference filter allude to the darkness that came over the whole land when Jesus died.

Whereas in most of the preceding video Stations, Dean has used footage shot through a moving camera that remains focused on a still central figure, in this work he inverts the construct, making use of footage from a locked camera shot of a subject moving at speed. Is Dean suggesting that Jesus’ death inverts the world-order as we know it; that the ‘still point’ which, until recently was acted upon by the ‘turning-world’, now undergoes a change in state and starts to exert its own influence upon that same world?

Station XIII — Jesus is taken down from the cross: The Bearer

In this work, Dean superimposes a photograph of Sister Andreina, Mother Superior at the Augustinian Monastery of Saint Rita of Cascia, over footage from Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda film, Olympia (1938). Sister Andreina is shown holding an ex-voto made by Yves Klein that was left at the monastery during a pilgrimage to Cascia. Saint Rita is known as the patron saint of lost causes and was a favorite object of Klein’s devotion and ritualistic interest.

The footage from Olympia depicts athletes diving from a springboard with arms outstretched, generating a direct visual allusion to Klein’s Leap into the Void photograph, and to the crucifixion. A progression of pink, blue and gold filters are applied to the video, in reference to the pigments Klein placed in his ex-voto, and also corresponding to the red and amber colours of the Christmas Tree lights in the preceding work. This visual correspondence, taken together with the fact that The Christmas Tree and The Bearer are the only two silent Stations, suggests that they are to be considered together. If The Christmas Tree suggests a change in world order achieved through the crucifixion, then a microcosm of this transformation is revealed in the events that followed the making of Klein’s Leap into the Void photograph. In a strange coincidence, the house outside Paris that he leapt from in making this work was later demolished to make way for a church dedicated to Saint Rita. An action performed ‘in the order of signs’ is completed through the transformation of the physical world order.

Station XIV — Jesus is laid in the tomb: Cartoon Burial

In Cartoon Burial, Dean layers Raphael’s study for the Pala Baglione (also known as The Deposition or The Entombment) over a Googlemaps image of Jerusalem. For the first time, the work is explicitly located in a real person, in a specific place, at a precise moment in history. The soundtrack is provided by ‘Come Down To Us’ by South London sound-collagist, Burial.

The image is originally unclear. A close up of human limbs is faintly discernible, which becomes clearer as the drawing gradually descends within the frame. The audio track begins with the sample of a woman’s voice saying, “Excuse me, I’m lost” and then builds through layer upon layer of multi-textured samples, including voice snippets repeating phrases such as “You are not alone” and, “Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown”. The initial illegibility of the image becomes clearer as the work progresses as if to answer the vocal snippets asking, “Who are you? Why did you come to me?” In some sections, the track sounds almost like contemporary worship music.

The Burial track ends with an extract from a speech by transgender filmmaker Lana Wachowski: “Without examples, without models I began to believe voices in my head, that I am a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable. Years later, I find the courage to admit that I am transgender, and that does not mean that I am unlovable… This world that we imagine in this room might be used to gain access to other rooms, other worlds, previously unimaginable.” Its inclusion here could be understood as a political statement addressing current debates within the church over the role of gay clergy, and its treatment of the LGBT community, or a simple statement of inclusion addressed to those ‘in this room’ — that is, the viewers of the Stations of the Cross, watching online, alone and together.

Station XV — Here Comes the Sony (Rehearsal)

In this new fifteenth station, footage of dancers from Lizzi Kew Ross & Co. in rehearsal for Being Here is gradually overlaid with twelve rotating discs, each one produced by filming through the back of a translucent Sony lens cap, so that the logo remains visible in reverse. With the introduction of each new disc, another layer of looped sound is added. The track is fleetingly recognisable as the guitar riff from the opening bars to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles, although the original has been progressively extended so no two loops are the same duration. The discs rotate at different speeds, in sync to the soundtrack, changing hue as they cycle through the colour spectrum. As the music builds, the particular melody of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ is obscured, although never quite lost, as the sounds merge to create the effect of a peal of Easter bells. The twelve discs correspond to Jesus’ resurrection appearances in the New Testament and the sampled music from ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles is a deliberate pun referencing the coming of The Son, which is further reinforced by the retention of the reversed Sony logo.

The first fourteen Stations contemplate the path that Jesus walked to Calvary on the day of his crucifixion. The fifteenth station has moved forwards in time three days to Jesus’ resurrection. A version of this work was first installed under the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral during Eastertide 2017, when it was realised as a twelve-monitor video and sound installation titled, Here Comes the Sony: Stations of the Resurrection, and accompanied by a performance of Being Here by Lizzi Kew Ross & Co. The movement material focused on the repeated withdrawal and reconnection of the dancers to create a physical metaphor of presence and absence, connection and loss. In this rehearsal except, each dancer is carried or supported by the others in turn. They fold and unfold around each other. It is not clear who is acting on whom. They come together to form tableaux which are visually reminiscent of Käthe Kollwitz’ drawings and sculptures. Human bodies melt together, limbs draped over limbs, in the act of protecting, comforting and carrying each other. It is not clear where one body starts and another ends or whether it is one body or many that is being implied.

Watching this movement material again, in a season when touch is prohibited, delivers a poignant reminder of what has been lost: a time when the freedom to touch another person was taken for granted. On one level, the circles appearing over the dancers brings to mind the daily published infographics showing the spread of Coronavirus and its case fatality rates, a constant reminder of the danger associated with physical contact. The work also calls to mind one of the earliest resurrection appearances recorded in John’s Gospel: when Mary Magdalene first recognises Jesus, she reaches out to towards him, to which he replies, “touch me not” (Noli me Tangere). Jesus explains his refusal to be touched saying, “I have not yet ascended to the Father.” One possible interpretation is that Jesus is pointing Mary’s attention away from the physical act of resurrection and towards its spiritual meaning.

Within this framework, the rotating discs become symbolic of the wafer that the Priest distributes during the Eucharist and over which he prays the words, “this is my body, broken for you.” Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before his death when he met with his disciples to celebrate the Passover Seder. At this meal, they would have recited the ten plagues visited on Pharoah and his people, to force them to release the Israelites from slavery. Jesus is revealing to the disciples that the tenth plague, which resulted in the death of the first-born child, is about to be enacted on him. The incarnate God is not immune to the ravages of a plague or virus, but through his death, all people are saved from the slavery of sin.

The rotating discs, shot through a lens-cap, can also be interpreted as an eschatological metaphor that corresponds to Paul’s description of a resurrection life that is, at the same time, both realized and not yet realized; present now and yet still in the future: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” This partial ‘blindness’ co-exists with the acclamation of faith, “Here Comes the Son”. The New Testament looks towards a historical future, towards the redemption of the whole world, but from the angle of the fallen world and its history, that can only be expressed apocalyptically.

The theme of looking through a glass is reinforced towards the end of the fifteenth station, when the dancers move out of view and the camera focusses on a seam between two opaque glass windows. Until now, the dancers have been dancing in front (or on top) of this seam, which corresponds visually with the windscreen wipers in Station One that cut through Maria’s body. The abstracted architecture also resembles Station 2, where the astragals in the airport window form a cross. There is a sense of completion in the journey, achieved through the crucifixion.

The work invites discourse about the Christian journey of faith in which the church approaches Good Friday with the prior knowledge of the Resurrection: it lives with the knowledge that the victory has been won, and yet acknowledges that human beings still encounter the pain of death, darkness and separation in this life. In the meantime, the church is nourished by the sacraments and in particular the Eucharist — and reminded of its justification and salvation through observance of Lent and the celebration of Easter — through re-living the Via Crucis and the Via Lucis.

Lucy Newman Cleeve

April, 2020