Bill Viola's video art has been his spiritual exercise of the past 40 years

By Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle
Going Forth By Day (detail), “The Deluge” (Panel 3), 2002, video/sound
installation, a five-part projected image cycle, 36 minutes (Photo Kira Perov)
“Time makes my art possible,” insists Bill Viola. For the past four decades, Viola has kept a personal journal that he writes in every morning, which now comprises 40 volumes filled with his thoughts, projects and drawings. His mind is chaotic and jumps from subject to subject, but this reflects an extreme openness of spirit, influenced by wide-ranging references, whether mystical (from Saint Jean de la Croix to Jalal al-Din Rumi), philosophical (from the Greeks to the American Indian Seneca Chief), poetic (from Japanese Zen monks to William Blake) or artistic (from the Buddhist frescoes of Alchi to the Italian Renaissance painters). Believing that art is a spiritual exercise, Viola’s works are like a meditation on life, death, transcendence, rebirth, time and space. [link]