'Convergence', 2013 by Irene Barberis. Photo: Tobias Titz
    ‘Tapestry of Light: Lux, Lumen & Illumination’ (detail), 2014 by Irene Barberis. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination

Research

The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination is part of a major cycle of works based on the biblical Book of the Apocalypse by Dr Irene Barberis.

The work is a reimagining of the medieval Apocalypse Tapestry (1377–82) in the Chateau d’Angers in France. Irene’s version of the apocalypse is made from hi-tech fibres and will manifest as a 36 × 3 metre tapestry, which will be illuminated under ultraviolet light. Irene collboarated with world-renowned medievalists Emerita Professor Michelle P. Brown (University of London), Professor Bernard J. Muir (University of Melbourne) and Dr Janet McKenzie (University of Dundee), along with technology specialist Professor David E. Mainwaring (Swinburne University), who developed the nanotechnology which illuminates the fibres in the absence of natural light.

The Tapestry of Light is the first representation of a full cycle of the apocalypse by a female artist in more than five hundred years. The master work premiered at the gothic Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels (28 April–18 June 2017), accompanied by four musical scores commissioned from composers in Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom. Prints of the work were concurrently exhibited at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg, Brussels. Over the coming years, the work will travel to Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the USA; and commemorated in a book published by Thames & Hudson, as well as an internationally-released documentary by award-winning filmmakers Stella Motion Pictures.

“Ideas of ‘the end’ are significant to our culture. The apocalypse in the Bible is one of the first books that articulated the idea of the end of civilisation and the cosmos. The Bible has had immense influence on our culture for more than two thousand years. In art history, the apocalyptic end has usually been created by men and it has nearly always been aggressive and horrific. However, my artworks explore what happens after the end.”  – Dr Irene Barberis