You are in Artists > Bill Viola
Place(s) of work: Long Beach, CA (us)
Bill Viola is internationally recognized as one of the premiere artists working in the medium of video. For over 35 years, he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, and works for television broadcast. Viola's video installations are total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound and employ state-of-the-art technologies that are distinguished by their precision and direct simplicity. His single channel videotapes have been broadcast and presented cinematically around the world. Viola lives and works in Long Beach, California with his wife and long time collaborator, Kira Perov.
Since the early 1970's, Viola has used video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. Clearly at odds with the cynicism of his age, 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 Islamic Sufism, Christian mysticism, and Zen Buddhism. Viola's achievement is that of an artist who began in a field unbounded by tradition and dogma, and who arrived, twenty-five years later, deeply enmeshed in a series of intersecting spiritual traditions, from ancient to contemporary. He has been instrumental in the establishment of video as vital form of contemporary art, and in so doing has helped to expand its scope both in terms of technology, content and historical reach.
Viola received his B.F.A. from Syracuse University in 1973. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 1995, as well as from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997, the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland in 1998, and Sunderland University, Sunderland in 2000. In 1989, Viola received a five-year fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Other awards include fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 1993, he received the first Medienkunstpreis presented jointly by Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, and Siemens Kulturprogramm, in Germany. In 2006, he was awarded the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts on behalf of the Council for the Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was selected to represent the United States at the 46th Venice Biennale with an exhibition titled "Buried Secrets". His 1994 videofilm "Déserts", created to accompany the music composition of the same name by Edgard Varèse, received its American premier at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1999 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. In 1997, the Whitney Museum of American Art organized "Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey Exhibition" that toured the United States and Europe from 1997-2000.
Watch a clip from Viola's Quintet of the Astonished (2000):(read less)
Techniques & Media: Film and Video Art, Installation, New media, Performance Art, Sound Art