Four human figures — isolated on separate screens but orchestrated to form a coherent whole — each experience the overwhelming onslaught of a natural force at a dramatically slowed pace. Each is a witness (the original meaning of the Greek word martyr) to the human capacity to bear pain and death, and to inflict them on others in loyalty to our values and beliefs. Commissioned as a single piece for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the component works transcend specific faith or ideology: what motivates the endurance and suffering remains abstract. Recognized as one of today’s preeminent video artists, Bill Viola creates video and electronic installations that explore universal human themes. His art has roots in both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, defying narrow categories and challenging our notions of identity and “other.”
- Installation Views
Widely recognized among the pioneers of video art, Bill Viola has earned international acclaim for his visually stunning productions, which often employ extreme slow motion as a means of linking his moving images to the measured experience of observing paintings. His honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, Spain’s Catalonia International Prize, and the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale, and his works have appeared in solo museum exhibitions and biennials around the world.