Bill Viola. Buried Secrets

Organized by:
The Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona

Marilyn Zeitlin

This exhibition presented five video and sound installations, created by Bill Viola specifically for the US Pavilion, but designed to function both independently and as a unified sequence. The five independent works (Hall of Whispers, Interval, Presence, The Veiling , and The Greeting) described a journey or movement, both physical and conceptual, through interrelated themes of darkness/light, internal/external, past/present, and matter/immaterial. What emerged from this new cycle of works was an awareness of the fragility of life, and the transience of the individual.

In her catalogue essay, Zeitlin wrote: "Viola creates and offers to those who enter the work the opportunity to experience states of being that hover between polarities: between the normative and the extraordinary, waking and sleep, order and chaos, quietude and violence, life and death." "This exhibition," she added, "deals with life passage issues rather than specific current events. It seems particularly appropriate for an international exposition because it doesn't rely upon language. The cultural references are comprehensible and reverberate for everyone."