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An appraisal of the full range of accomplishments of this popular contemporary American artist. The video and installation artist Bill Viola is one of the most popular artists in the world today. Significantly, in a world where an artist's importance is often conferred by small groups of experts and cognoscenti, Viola's rich imagery touches a nerve with large international audiences. His work is profoundly spiritual and never afraid to make big statements about human life and its relation to the universe, to the ...
An appraisal of the full range of accomplishments of this popular contemporary American artist. The video and installation artist Bill Viola is one of the most popular artists in the world today. Significantly, in a world where an artist's importance is often conferred by small groups of experts and cognoscenti, Viola's rich imagery touches a nerve with large international audiences. His work is profoundly spiritual and never afraid to make big statements about human life and its relation to the universe, to the soul and human spirit, to nature, and to death. Viola is one of those rare artists whose work makes us aware of our nature as human beings. He takes art back to what were once its fundamental concerns and gives it a relevance to the emotional and spiritual lives of ordinary people. While Viola has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, there has never been an extensive critical appraisal of the full range of his work. In The Art of Bill Viola eminent critics examine the scope of the artist's creations since the 1970s. Their studies include the relationship of Viola's art to the religious traditions of both Asia and Europe, the use of space as metaphor within his installations, the use of sound in his work, and the impact of its exhibition upon other video artists. These essays demonstrate Viola's uniqueness and importance as an artist of enduring international reputation and for the first time allow us to properly assess his place within history. 50 color illustrations. With contributions by: Rhys Davies Cynthia Freeland Antonio Guesa David Jasper Jonathan Lahey-Dronsfield David Morgan Otto Neumaier Elizabeth ten Grotenhiuis Jean Wainwright
|Introduction : call me old-fashioned, but ... meaning, singularity and transcendence in the work of Bill Viola||6|
|Ch. 1||Piercing to our inaccessible, inmost parts : the sublime in the work of Bill Viola||24|
|Ch. 2||Space, time, video, Viola||46|
|Ch. 3||On the anticipation of responsibility||72|
|Ch. 4||Spirit and medium : the video art of Bill Viola||88|
|Ch. 5||Telling times : revisiting the greeting||110|
|Ch. 6||In my secret life : self, space and world in Room for St. John of the cross, 1983||124|
|Ch. 7||The frequency of existence : Bill Viola's archetypal sound||142|
|Ch. 8||Something rich and strange : Bill Viola's uses of Asian spirituality||160|
|Ch. 9||Screening angels : the messenger, Durham Cathedral, 1996||180|
|Ch. 10||Knocking at a foreigner's house : when the Russian art community met Bill Viola||196|
Posted November 4, 2005
At the first introduction of so-called 'art' in the form of videotapes played in museum and gallery installations caused a public response of skepticism: how can something so transient as filmed activity be called Art? The validity of video art is now accepted as one of the more creative venues of artistic expression and that is due to a very great degree to the pioneering efforts of Bill Viola, a uniquely gifted man who now is accepted internationally as one of the most important artists of our time. This brilliant book as created by Chris Townsend explores Bill Viola's works from the 1970s to 2004 with abundant photographs of 'stills' images from his videos that even in the frozen state of the book page are shatteringly poignant and beautiful. Perhaps for those uninformed about Viola's work this format will not impress, but the book may stimulate more people to seek out installations of his works as they appear in the varied arenas of art around the world. Townsend includes contributions by excellent writers such as Rhys Davies, Cynthia Freeland, Antonio Guesa, David Jasper, Jonathan Lahey-Dronsfield, David Morgan, Otto Neumaier, Elizabeth ten Grotenhiuis, Jean Wainwright - each of whom brings not only artistic verification but also personal response to Viola's many projects. Perhaps one of the most successful works Viola has produced has been THE TRISTAN PROJECT in which he worked in tandem with Director Peter Sellars, Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Gehry's Disney Hall to re-think the Wagner masterpiece 'Tristan und Isolde' in terms of the elements of water, fire, and the spiritual transformation of love - all by adding the element of projected gigantic screens of Viola's models in movement that created an opera production so profound that it is being staged throughout the world to both audience rapture and critical acclaim. Bill Viola is a living genius and this fine book helps to inform us why. Highly Recommended. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.