Artist Profile: Bill Viola & Floating through the Infinite...

Artist Profile: Bill Viola & Floating through the Infinite...

Words: Jade French

Floating through the infinite…

In 1996 Bill Viola was commissioned to respond to Durham Cathedral and he came up with the video installation ‘The Messenger’. To think that the video was devised with a church in mind suggests that there may be an underlying message simmering beneath the watery surface- but then maybe thats just what Viola wants you to think. There is, in the piece, the relationship between light and dark, breathing and death but then we can see those dichotomies everywhere. The simplicity of the video- it simply shows a man rising to take breath and falling back again into a body of water four times- allows the focus to lie in the detail. The gasping of breath, the stretching of the lungs, the bubbles of the displaced water all combine to create an eerie and atmospheric piece. The body of a naked man is submerged in water; dark and murky until a speck of light begins to travel down to illuminate his entire body. The repetition is an almost relentless process that dares the viewer to keep watching, to keep wondering if anything different will happen next, to wonder if the man is trying to live or die.

 

Comment: Graham Greene & The Writer's Womb

Comment: Graham Greene & The Writer's Womb

Artist Interview: Hannah Perry

Artist Interview: Hannah Perry