WHAT Arvo Pärt “Spiegel Im Spiegel”
WHEN Surbiton - 13 August 2010
There was a time when you just couldn’t avoid this. It was like the world’s commissioning editors has gathered together and said it had to soundtrack every tragic or epic moment in all films, theatre and dance performances. (The Guardian at one time asked for a Arvo Armistice).
I played it at my grandmother’s funeral. Its peace and dignity hasn’t been diminished by its overuse. In the apparent simplicity, there is something fundamental, an essence, which is a rare thing to create in the last years of the 20th century. It can still stop me in my tracks.
Alison Watt’s "Still" at Old St Paul's Church in Edinburgh has the same impact on me. It is a remarkable 12 foot square painting commissioned in 2004 for their 1926 memorial chapel. It's an unworldly building in the historic heart of a city centre and to find a bold, yet sympathetic, work of contemporary art located there is a real shock. When you visit I would recommend reading Revd Canon Ian Paton’s “Being Still” insightful notes on the painting's creation process (unfortunately they don't seem to be online).
It will be OK.