Bill Viola

“His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. Using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories, his videos communicate to a wide audience, allowing viewers to experience the work directly, and in their own personal way.”

I have been interested in the way that Viola approaches the human experience, and am particularly interested in how this is dealt with from a spiritual perspective. Researching for this project has started me thinking about the relationship between religion and the spiritual and contemporary art practice. I have been exploring the relationship between art and religion as a brief introduction into themes arching off of the piece ‘Eve’. Considering the writings of James Elkins in his book ‘On the strange place of religion in contemporary art’, I have been looking at how art has historically served religion but has now moved to a place of almost complete exclusion from the contemporary art world – if religion is referenced at all in work then it is done so in an ironic and critical way. Work not overtly containing themes of religion but of spirituality, work carrying a spiritual charge is less uncommon.



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