Bill Viola

USA (1951). Lives and works in Long Beach, CA.


Walking on the Edge
2012. HD video, color, sound, 12’33’’

Bill Viola was a central figure in establishingvideo as a vital part of contemporary art. His projects include video work, architectural video installations, and electronic musical performances. Viola uses video to explore the phenomenon of sensorial perception as an avenue for self-knowledge. His work is centered on the universality of the human experience: birth, death, and the development of consciousness—and has its roots in both Eastern and Western art, drawing from the spiritual traditions of Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. He employs the internal language of thought and collective memory to communicate with a larger audience, allowing the viewer to experience the work directly, their own unique way.

Walking on the Edge portrays the inevitable separation between father and son when they choose different paths in life. Two men reach a desert under a turbulent sky. We see them in the distance walking towards the camera in a trajectory that brings them closer and closer until they are walking alongside each other. Their paths finally cross and begin to again diverge. The space between them grows wider until they disappear from the visual frame. Ancestors, The Encounter, Walking on the Edge, and Inner Passage are part of a body of work created in 2012 to explore the layers of reality and illusion in the physical world and their relationships, as well as further dimensions of the great beyond. They explore mankind’s place in the natural order, both the physical and the metaphysical.