About the artist
Bill Viola has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art.
His video installations are total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound. He uses video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences — birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness — and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.
Using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories, his videos communicate to a wide audience, allowing viewers to experience the work directly, and in their own personal way.
Viola is an artist whose practice has always been conceived to engage with a multi-national, multi denominational audience. His works have roots in both Eastern and Western art and in spiritual traditions ranging from Zen Buddhism to Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism. Viola works are singular in their insistence that contemporary art can have a meaning and significance in our lives above and beyond the shocking or the ironic, the social or the purely aesthetic.
The artist’s acclaimed works for sacred spaces include: The Nantes Triptych (1992) for la Chapelle de l’Oratoire; The Messenger, a special commission for Durham Cathedral in 1996; Ocean Without a Shore, premiered in the 15th-century church of San Gallo at the 2007 Venice Biennale, and the video triptych Study for The Path (2002) donated to one of Milan’s historic churches, Basilica di San Marco, in 2008.