For over 40 years, Bill Viola has been making work that explores a series of humanistic and spiritual issues. His video installations – total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound – employ state-of-the-art technologies and are distinguished by their precision and direct simplicity. Viola uses video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works are shown in museums and galleries worldwide and are found in many distinguished collections.
Viola represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 1995. Other key solo exhibitions include; Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey organised by the Whitney Museum of American Art (1997); The Passions at the J.Paul Getty Museum (2003); Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2006; Bill Viola, visioni interiori at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, 2008; Bill Viola, Grand Palais, Paris 2014; and in 2017, three major exhibitions: Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Bill Viola: Installations, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; and Bill Viola: Retrospective, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain. Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), the first of two permanent works created for St Paul’s Cathedral, London, was inaugurated in 2014, followed by Mary in 2016. In 2004 Viola created a four-hour long video for Peter Sellars’ production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, presented in project form by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in December 2004. The complete opera received its world premiere at the Opéra National de Paris, Bastille in April 2005 and has had many performances in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.
In 2019 the Royal Academy of Arts presents the exhibition Bill Viola / Michelangelo: Life, Death, Rebirth, pairing Bill Viola’s powerful installations with rarely-seen drawings by Michelangelo.
Bill Viola and Kira Perov, his wife, long-time collaborator and executive director of Bill Viola Studio, live and work in Long Beach, California.
Photo by Kira Perov