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The first comprehensively illustrated monograph on the work of Bill Viola, one of the most original and poetic artists of his generation

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Bill Viola began experimenting with video art in the early 1970s; today, he is considered one of the foremost proponents of the medium, captivating audiences around the world with his profound and beautifully wrought explorations of the human condition.

Bill Viola is the first monograph to chart the artist’s career in full, from his education in Syracuse, New York, to the inauguration in 2014 of Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, a work specially commissioned for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. John G. Hanhardt outlines the key visual, literary, and spiritual influences on Viola’s work, together with his changing approach to the moving image in response to advances in technology.

Woven into the discussion are numerous illustrations of Viola’s most significant works, including Information (1973), The Greeting (1995) and Going Forth By Day (2002), together with reproductions of his sketches and notebook entries that bring his working methods to life. Supplemented by a comprehensive reference section, Bill Viola offers a rare and fascinating account of one of contemporary art's most powerful creative minds.

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'One of the most exhaustive books about Viola ever published … unravels the artist’s mind by sharing his inner dialogues with the reader'

'This book, the first complete monograph, richly and dramatically illustrated, does him proud'
Mature Times

'Highly readable and fascinating … there is no question that this is an important publication that is not only long overdue but also deeply insightful and thoroughly comprehensive'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 28.5 x 26.0 cm

Extent: 296 pp

Publication date: 30 October 2015

ISBN: 9780500093924

Contents List

Introduction: Thought, Reflection, Belief • Chapter 1: The Discovery of Video • Chapter 2: 1970s: Reflections on Nature and Time • Chapter 3: 1980s: Expanded Visions of Life and Memory • Chapter 4: 1990s: The Joining of the Spiritual to the Aesthetic • Chapter 5: 1900s: Embodying Emotion on Video • Chapter 6: 2000s: A Humanism for Our Time • CODA: The Martyrs

About the Author

John Hanhardt is a Consulting Senior Curator for Film and Media Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Kira Perov is Bill Viola’s wife, studio manager and muse.

List of Contributors

Kira Perov