An image of ObservanceAn image of ObservanceAn image of Observance

Bill Viola

(United States of America 25 Jan 1951 – )

Observance

Location
Not on display
Further information

Performers: Alan Abelew, Sheryl Arenson, Frank Bruynbroek, Carol Cetrone, Cathy Chang, Ernie Charles, Alan Clark, JD Cullum, Michael Irby, Tanya Little, Susan Matus, Kate Noonan, Paul O’Connor, Valerie Spencer, Louis Stark, Richard Stobie, Michael Eric Strickland, Ellis Williams

Bill Viola began experimenting with the possibilities of video as an art form early in the 1970s. He explores and manipulates the specific characteristics of his medium, such as light and linear time, by speeding up, slowing down and reversing his footage. He uses different cameras to create particular atmospheres, ranging from black-and-white surveillance footage to high-end video transferred from 35mm film.

Viola has long been interested in eastern religions and more recently in Christian iconography, in particular images that evoke our ephemeral existence on earth. ‘Observance’ is from ‘The passions’ series. In this work figures move out of the dark towards the portal of the screen, gazing beyond the frame into the viewer’s space as if into a tomb and then with a melancholy air they move away. ‘Six heads’ explores a range of human passions while in ‘Bodies of light' a male and a female stand in water while a globe of light moves up and down their bodies, eventually dissolving their forms.

Year
2002
Media
Time-based media, Video, DVD
Medium
HD video, colour, silent, 10:14 min; plasma screen
Dimensions
plasma screen: 120.7 x 72.4 x 10.2 cm
Signature & date
Signed Certificate of authenticity, black felt tip pen "Bill Viola".
Credit
Gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
255.2011
Copyright
© Bill Viola