Bill Viola

Bill Viola
Three Women, 2008
155.5 cm x 92.5 cm x 12.7 cm (61.2 in x 36.4 in x 5in)
9:06 minutes
Performers: Anika Ballent, Cornelia Ballent, Helena Ballent
Photo: Kira Perov
© 2008 Bill Viola
Gift of funds from Alida Messinger 2010.97

Bill Viola has been deeply inspired by medieval and renaissance devotional art, and his video work reflects his ongoing artistic exploration of birth, death, and spirituality. This video is from a series Viola calls “Transfigurations,” a word taken from Christian theology. Viola uses the term more generally to refer to the transformation of a person that occurs after he or she crosses a spiritual threshold. To describe the effect, Viola quotes the Sufi mystic Ibn al’Arabi: “A morning has dawned whose darkness was you.” The transcendental nature of the video and its expression of transformation, spirituality, and the unknown complement the procession of grieving figures in “The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.”


Jean de la Huerta, Spanish, c. 1413–62
Antoine le Moiturier, French, c. 1425–97
Mourner with Drawn Hood, Holding a Book with his Right Hand and Drying his Eyes with a Fold of his Cloak held in his Left Hand, 1443–57
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon

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