On a background of Christian iconography Bill Viola explores extreme stages of feeling expressed through high-tech video.
Unspoken (Silver & Gold), 2001
The faces of a man and a woman are depicted on a gold and a silver panel respectively. The man and the woman appear as poorly illuminated, grainy and dim images, moving in slow motion. At times subtle changes of light and shade render the images almost invisible while the two people exceptionally slowly express various stages of intense suffering.
About the workThe acute emotional states and the suffering expressed by the two people are a common theme in the series of works to which Unspoken belongs. The series, The Passions, employs the biblical story to explore radical stages of emotional expressions performed on film in extreme slow motion. By stretching time Viola makes visible nuances of facial expressions that we would not otherwise have noticed.
Thus the work becomes an intense examination of a complex human physical and psychological condition. Although inspired by one of the principal stories of Christianity, still the work is timeless and eternal because of its universal theme.
Viola's art in general
The themes in Viola's art are typically "grand subjects" such as the universal, human experience: birth, growth, death. Viola places emphasis on the sensory experience as a means to self-knowledge and on how the encounter with the artwork can afford us a deeper social and spiritual awareness.
Literature"Bill Viola. The Passions", (Bill Viola, John Walsh, Hans Belting), J. Paul Getty Trust Publications, 2003
"Bill Viola" (Lewis Hide, Kira Perov, David H. Ross. Bill Viola), Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, 1997
BiographyViola studied at Syracuse University in the state of New York, focusing on painting and electronic music.....
The Veil of St. Veronica