In Mark Wallinger's video, 'Angel', everything is reversed. Wallinger's 'angel', in the form of a blind man, is transposed to the London Underground (Angel tube station). At the bottom of the escalator he intones the opening of St John's Gospel. The words were recorded spoken backwards and, although 'righted' in playback, they have the effect of speech which is not quite human. The blind man continually walks on the spot to avoid being propelled off the escalator, as though he is preaching to the world and making no progress. At the end he is abruptly swept backwards up the escalator to the sound of Handel's 'Zadok the Priest', as if ascending to heaven.
Wallinger seems to be commenting ironically on the nature of religion and the reflexivity of artistic communication: it is not so much the content of the Bible that is important as the way you tell it. This could also be regarded as a comment about the artifice of art.
Christopher Kool-Want, 'The Sublime Now', 'Sublime, The Darkness and the Light: from the Arts Council Collection', Exhibition Catalogue, 1999
- Artwork Details: running time: 7 minutes 30seconds
- Material description: betacam sp video
- Credit line: © the artist
- Medium: Film and Audio Visual
- Accession number: ACC1/1997