Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
At the beginning of the twentieth century, cubist painters such as Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, introduced musical notes and motifs into their still-lives. In this canvas of 1971, Kounellis drew upon this avant-garde tradition, reproducing a score from Bach’s oratorio St John Passion. The work can be 'activated' with a cellist playing alongside it. The painting exists both as a work in its own right, and as a trace of the performative action. Kounellis was interested in creating a harmony between history and contemporary experience, and used the theme of music to reconcile memory with the immediacy of the present moment.