1211 The Ecstasy of St Teresa

“I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…”

This vision was the inspiration for one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s (1598-1680) most famous works, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.Set within the framework of Bedlam, the present work explores the thin emotional, biological and chemical line between insanity and mental religious elevation and apparition, the ecstasy of the mind. The work uses 1:1 Magnetic Resonance images as a basis to create the sliced and split body of St Teresa, encrusted and distorted by artificially grown crystals. The crystals, sedimenting along two superimposed rays of light, pierce through the body and create a substrate for light to be articulated throughout Teresa’s body.