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Exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia presents a selection of works by Bill Viola
Bill Viola, United States of America, born 1951, The Encounter, 2012, colour HD video on plasma display mounted on wall, 19.19 mins, Performers: Genevieve Anderson, Joan Chodorow. Photo: Kira Perov.

ADELAIDE.- The Art Gallery of South Australia is one of three venues to host the Adelaide Festival exhibition Bill Viola: Selected works –the broadest selection of Viola’s works ever curated in Australia.

Bill Viola, a pioneer of video art in the 1970s, is now considered one of the great masters of the medium and is among the most significant contemporary artists of our time. His work is renowned for its atmospheric purity and haunting beauty. Visitors to the Gallery will experience themes of birth, death, transformation and transcendence and will have the opportunity to see four of Viola’s mesmerizing works said Curator of European and North American Art, Jane Messenger.

Among the works to be exhibited is the celebrated installation The crossing, 1996, through which Viola brings together the two opposing forces of fire and water. On each side of a double-sided projection screen, a single figure emerges from a distant darkness, simultaneously walking towards the viewer and becoming increasingly distinct. When each figure stops near the boundary of the screen’s edge, a stream of water begins to flow onto one until he is submerged by a torrent, while a small flame appears at the feet of the other figure before he is engulfed by an inferno. Annihilation becomes a means to transcendence and liberation, while also symbolising various religious and mythic traditions.

The Gallery will also show The Messenger 1996 and premiere Walking on the Edge and The Encounter, pieces from his 2012 Mirage series. These works also include Viola’s signature images of fire, water, mirages and vast landscapes.

Viola paints with video; his full control of the medium enables him to create images that are spectacular, intimate, spiritual and profound. For 40 years he has created video installations which employ state-of-the-art technologies and are distinguished by their precision and simplicity.

Bill Viola and his wife, partner and executive director of Bill Viola Studio, Kira Perov, will be in conversation with festival Artistic Director, David Sefton for a special ticketed event at the Radford Auditorium at the Gallery on 28 February at 2.30pm.

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