Bill Viola (b. 1951 in New York) is generally seen as one of the leading international representatives of video art. For over 30 years he has been working with video tapes, video installations, sound environments, electronic-music performances and TV productions.
Since the early 1970s, Viola investigated video as a medium for pursuing the phenomena of sensory perception as a path toward self-knowledge. His work is based on responding to the fundamental experiences of human existence such as birth, death and awareness, and also how this is reflected in ancient spiritual traditions, documents and art of the East and the West, including those of Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism.
The four pieces selected for the exhibition — with one or two video projections per room throughout the museum — demonstrate by means of landscape observations Bill Viola’s investigation of media-specific perception and represent a phase of transition in which the artist develops a growing fascination for existential and spiritual questions. Five of his more recent works will be on show at the same time at the Cathedral of Berne and are devoted solely to spiritual and universally human subject matter.
Exhibited Works at the Kunstmuseum Bern
The Reflecting Pool, 1977-79
Videotape, color, mono sound, 7 minutes
Chott el-Djerid (A Portrait in Light and Heat), 1979
Videotape, color, stereo sound, 28 minutes
Hatsu-Yume (First Dream), 1981
For Daien Tanaka
Videotape, color, stereo sound, 56 minutes
The Passing, 1991
Im Memory of Wynne Lee Viola
Videotape, black-and-white, mono sound, 54 minutes
Exhibited Works at the Cathedral of Berne
Color video diptych on plasma displays mounted vertically on wall, 7:01 minutes
Tempest (Study for The Raft), 2005
Color high-definition video on flat panel display mounted on wall, 16:50 minutes
Three Women, 2008
Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall, 9:06 minutes
Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall, 10:14 minutes
Study for Emergence, 2002
Color video on freestanding LCD flat panel, 11:51 minutes
Kunstmuseum Bern Website