Skip navigation


John Gillies

2 channel video installation

stereo sound

duration of loop: 8min

In John Gillies dual-monitor installation Hymn, the spectator’s attention is distributed as it shifts and pans between two views of an epic scenario. On one monitor a brief cutaway of three graceful devotees react faithfully to the parting of the waters from Cecil B. De Mille`s 10 Commandments. They gesture in a chorus of reverence and adoration towards the divine intervention, in a continuous slow-speed rhythm of ten frames that shuttle to and fro in a ritual rocking incantation. In relation to the shots on the other monitor of the saturated Red Sea and the luminous omniscience of the majestic Paramount statue, this cutaway functions as a supremely eternal reverse shot of revelation and redemption. The slow advance and retrace of these ten frames echoes both the ebb and flow of the waters, and the induced hypnotic mesmerism associated with the adulatory effects of video rays.

Stephen Goddard, Recent Australian Video Installation, catalogue essay, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 1986

John Gillies: Hymn (1983)
John Gillies: Hymn (1983)