Bill VIOLA, Observance (video still), 2002

Bill Viola: Observance

14 May – 16 July 2010

Bill Viola is internationally recognised as the leading contemporary artist working in video art today. A pioneer of the medium, his consistent artistic explorations have focused on the universal human experience, addressing the central themes of consciousness and experience: birth, death, love and emotion.

In Observance, a steady stream of people slowly moves forward toward our view. One by one they pause at the head of the line, overcome with emotion. Their gazes are fixed on an unknown object just out of sight below the edge of frame. An air of solemnity and sorrow pervades the scene. Individuals sometimes touch each other gently or exchange brief glances as they pass. Couples comfort one another in their shared grief. All are unified by their common desire to reach the front of the line and make contact with what is there. Once their solitary moment is fulfilled, they move to the back of the line to make way for the others.

Media release (PDF file, 205kb) (opens in a new window)