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Bill Viola
John Kaldor Family Collection artist room

Bill Viola Six heads 2000 (detail), Art Gallery of NSW collection, gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program © Bill Viola

Bill Viola is renowned as a pioneer of video art. Over five decades his work has explored themes including sensory perception, the mediating effects of technology and fundamental aspects of the human experience.

In the 1970s, Viola was active in experimenting with new technologies and throughout his career he has progressively pioneered the use of video in the realm of art. He was an early adoptor of the portable colour video camera and among the first artists to engage with computer editing techniques. Later, he utilised low-light and infrared video cameras as well as medical imaging and videodisc technologies before progressing, in his more recent work, to the use of 35mm high-speed film and high-definition video.

Viola’s early works focused on the technical properties of video as a medium before evolving in the 1980s to more directly address the body of the spectator. Since the 1990s, his work has explored the universal themes of birth and death, time, consciousness, human emotion and spiritual and ritual expression. His later works are characterised by a heightened sense of drama and meticulously contrived allegorical imagery.

This display from the Art Gallery of NSW, which includes the John Kaldor Family Collection, features significant video works by Viola. It is among a series of touring 'artist rooms’ drawing on the Kaldor Collection, which represents a number of great international artists in depth. Each show brings together a wealth of work over a number of years by an individual artist of note.

The exhibition at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre also includes the video work Railings by Francis Alÿs.

22 March 2014 – 18 May 2014Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre
31 May 2014 – 24 August 2014Penrith Regional Gallery

Contemporary app

Bill Viola and Francis Alÿs are part of the Gallery’s free Contemporary app for iPad