Bill Viola is renowned as a pioneer of video art. Viola’s extensive career has spanned five decades, during which time his work has consistently explored a number of themes including sensory perception, the mediating effects of technology and fundamental aspects of the human experience.
In the 1970s, Viola was active in experimenting with new technologies and throughout his career has progressively pioneered the use of video in the realm of art. He was an early adaptor of the portable colour video camera and among the first artists to engage with computer editing techniques. Later, Viola utilised low-light and infrared video cameras as well as medical imaging and videodisc technologies before progressing, in his more recent work, to the use of 35mm high-speed film and high-definition video.
Viola’s early works focused on the technical properties of video as a medium before evolving in the 1980s to more directly address the body of the spectator. Since the 1990s, his work has explored the universal themes of birth and death, time, consciousness, human emotion and spiritual and ritual expression. Viola’s later works are characterised by a heightened sense of drama and meticulously contrived allegorical imagery.
This display from the Art Gallery of NSW, which includes the John Kaldor Family Collection, features significant video works by Viola. It is among a series of touring 'artist rooms’ drawing on the Kaldor collection, which represents a number of great international artists in depth. Each show brings together a wealth of work over a number of years by an individual artist of note.